March 29, 2005

Mugabe's Campaign


From ABC News: Mugabe: Zimbabwe Opposition Are Traitors.

HARARE, Zimbabwe?Mar 29, 2005 -- President Robert Mugabe branded supporters of the country's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party as traitors in comments broadcast repeatedly on state radio Tuesday, raising fears of new political violence two days ahead of parliamentary elections.

"All those who will vote for the MDC are traitors," state radio quoted Mugabe as saying to a ruling ZANU-PF party rally Monday at Mutoko, 90 miles northeast of Harare.

Similar comments by the president in the past have encouraged ruling party and youth militia's to take violent action against opposition supporters and candidates.

InstaPundit pointed to these recent links about Zimbabwe:

Strategy Page -- POTENTIAL HOT SPOTS: Zimbabwe
Normblog -- Zimbabwe's hopes
Sokwanele: This Is Zimbabwe

UPDATE I -- March 30: This cartoon will appear in the March 31 (Thursday) edition of National Post.

UPDATE II -- March 31: InstaPundit has here, here and here.

UPDATE III -- April 6: This cartoon appeared in the April 1st edition of Investor's Business Daily.

Posted by Forkum at 07:28 PM

March 27, 2005

The Schiavo Rift


We received quite a bit of critical feedback regarding our Grand Old Pragmatists cartoon. A few were emotional condemnations that wrongly accused us of advocating everything from "states' rights" to "murder." But the large majority of the criticism was civil and often complimentary of our past work. Though I cannot individually answer all those (or future) e-mails on the Terri Schiavo case, I'm grateful to those who took the time to write polite disagreements. I will point out that religious beliefs seem to be the primary motive for most of those advocating government intervention in the Schiavo case. And in the past we've been critical of injecting religion into politics (see here, here, here, here, and here). We don't expect everyone, even our regular readers, to agree with us on every issue. We're in the criticism business, so we're not surprised to get some in return, particularly on such an controversial issue.

But apparently the criticism we received was nothing compared to that received by other bloggers who took similar positions, such as being called a "Nazi." As evidence of the rift exposed by the Schiavo case, here are a few posts (much overlap):

Donald Sensing (The Schiavo great divide, Pastoring families of the hopelessly ill)
Glenn Reynolds (Acting Like The Left, Con'd)
Charles Johnson (Today's Schiavo Thread, A Little Less Certainty)
Michele Catalano (Grandma)

UPDATE I -- March 28: This cartoon will appear in tommorrow's (Tuesday's) The Detroit News.

UPDATE II: Robert Tracinski at TIA Daily examined the critical e-mail he's received and concluded that skepticism, promulgated for years by the secular left, has been exploited to promote medical and legal uncertainty in the Schiavo case: Skepticism, Mysticism, and Living Death.

UPDATE III -- March 31: CNN reports: Terri Schiavo has died

Posted by Forkum at 04:36 PM

March 24, 2005

Here's Looking At You


From The Wall Street Journal: McCain-Feingold Online: Will the FEC make bloggers kiss the First Amendment goodbye?.

When it comes to the law of unintended consequences, the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance "reform" is rapidly becoming a legal phenomenon. The latest example comes courtesy of the Federal Election Commission, where officials are being asked to extend the law to the very people it is supposed to empower: individual citizens.

We'd like to say we're surprised, but this was always going to be the end result of a law that naively believed it could ban money from politics. Since 2003, when the Supreme Court upheld it, McCain-Feingold has failed spectacularly in its stated goal of reining in fat-cat donors. Yet its uncompromising language has helped to gag practically every other politically active entity -- from advocacy groups to labor unions. Now the FEC is being asked to censor another segment of society, the millions of individuals who engage in political activity online.

For an idea of how complicated the application of McCain-Feingold to blogs will be, read this article by Richard Hasen: FEC Takes First Stab at Internet Rules: More Clarity Needed. (Via InstaPundit)

But the greater danger of the FEC’s proposals, if enacted as they are, is the additional uncertainty that they would create. For example, consider someone who has a private website or blog that contains occasional political commentary. Suppose the blogger owns the site as a corporation. Corporations cannot engage in certain election-related activities except through a separate political action committee subject to numerous reporting and disclosure requirements. Can the blogger post commentaries calling for the election or defeat of a candidate for President? The draft rules extend the media exemption to news stories, commentaries and editorials appearing over the Internet, but written materials in this category must appear in a “newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication.” It is not clear that a blogger fits into this category, particularly if the blogger does not post regularly.

If free speech was the guiding principle, as it should be, then none of this would be an issue.

UPDATE I -- March 25: PoliPundit has more on the FEC rules. (Via Little Green Footballs)

UPDATE II: From CNET Bloggers narrowly dodge federal crackdown.

When the Federal Election Commission kicked off the process of extending campaign finance rules to the Internet on Thursday, the public document was substantially altered from one prepared just two weeks earlier and reviewed by CNET

The 44-page document, prepared by the FEC general counsel's office and dated March 10, took a radically different approach and would have imposed decades-old rules designed for federal campaigns on many political Web sites and bloggers. examines the March 10 draft of FEC rules. (Via InstaPundit)

Posted by Forkum at 06:01 PM

March 22, 2005

Grand Old Pragmatists


From Ryan Sager at Tech Central Station: What Steroids and Schiavo Have in Common. (Via InstaPundit)

In coming years, political historians might look back and try to pinpoint the day or week or month that the Republican Party shed the last vestiges of its small-government philosophy. If and when they do, the week just past should make the short list. For it was in this last week that the Republican-controlled Congress made it clear that it sees no area of American life -- none too trivial and none too intimate -- that the federal government should not permeate with its power. ...

[Beside the trival steroid issue], we have the sad case of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman in a “permanent vegetative state” whose feeding tube had been removed at her husband’s urging -- and based on a court’s findings regarding her wishes on the matter only to have Congress and President Bush intervene ostensibly on her behalf.

Putting aside the tangled facts of the case for the moment -- which include some bitter family history and selective science on both sides -- the driving question here should be: Does Congress have a role?

And when it comes to a family dispute over a painful medical decision, one which at least 19 judges in six courts have already adjudicated, the answer must be a resounding “no.” [Emphasis added]

From Robert Tracinski in Monday's TIA Daily: The Conservative Dictators.

In its crazed campaign to keep a brain-dead [see Update II below] woman alive against the will of her husband, Congress has now passed a law violating the separation of power between the legislative and judiciary and between federal and state governments by arbitrarily altering the jurisdiction of the Terry Schiavo case—and doing so ad hoc, not as part of any general rule affecting all such cases universally.

If leftists did this sort of thing, conservatives would scream (correctly) that this is a step toward dictatorship. Yet the most committed religious conservatives will not hesitate for a moment to wipe out the entire mechanics of a free society in their lust to use government power to impose religious restriction on the individual. Even worse: not a single Senate Democrat was willing to stand up and stop them.

UPDATE I -- March 23: From The New York Times: G.O.P. Right Is Splintered on Schiavo Intervention. (Via TIA Daily)

In interviews over the past two days, conservatives who expressed concern about the turn of events in Congress stopped short of condemning the vote in which overwhelming majorities supported the Schiavo bill, and they generally applauded the goal of trying to keep Ms. Schiavo alive. But they said they were concerned about what precedent had been set and said the vote went against Republicans who were libertarian, advocates of states' rights or supporters of individual rights.

"My party is demonstrating that they are for states' rights unless they don't like what states are doing," said Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, one of five House Republicans who voted against the bill. "This couldn't be a more classic case of a state responsibility."

"This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy," Mr. Shays said. "There are going to be repercussions from this vote. There are a number of people who feel that the government is getting involved in their personal lives in a way that scares them." ...

Other Republicans who supported the Schiavo bill said they were wrestling conflicting beliefs. Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio, a former governor and a strong advocate of states' rights, decided to support the bill after determining that his opposition to euthanasia outweighed his views on federalism, an aide said.

Senator Tom Coburn, a newly elected conservative Republican from Oklahoma, said: "This isn't a states' rights issue. What we're saying is they are going to review it. The states are not given the right to take away somebody's constitutional rights."

UPDATE II -- March 29: Some readers have taken issue with Tracinski's use of the term "brain-dead" to describe Terri Schiavo's condition. Strictly speaking, Schiavo is "severely brain damaged." Tracinski has elaborated that he was using "brain-dead" to indicate that Schiavo has lost the higher functions, such as reason, that make the human brain distinct (he has more in this editorial). FoxNews also had an article yesterday in which the phrase "permanent unconsciousness" is suggested to describe the condition: Docs: Schiavo Videos Misleading.

Posted by Forkum at 08:35 PM

March 21, 2005

Saddam in Repose


We posted this cartoon last year on the first anniversary of the Iraq invasion. It's one of over 450 cartoons you can find in our new book Black & White World II.

Posted by Forkum at 07:53 PM

March 20, 2005

Bush Pinata


On the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion, Iraqi blogger Husayn Uthman writes:

So you ask me, Husayn, was it worth it. What have you gotten? What has Iraq acheived? These are questions I get a lot.

To may outsiders, like those who protested last year, who will protest today. This was a fools errand, it brought nothing but death and destruction. I am sheltered in Iraq, but I know how the world feels, how people have come to either love or hate Bush, as though heis the emobdiement of this war. As though this war is part of Bush, they forget the over twenty million Iraqis, they forget the Middle Easterners, they forget the average person on the street, the average man with the average dream.

Ask him if it was worth it. Ask him what is different. Ask him if he would go through it again, go ahead ask him, ask me, many of you have.

Now I answer you, I answer you on behalf of myself, and my countrymen. I dont care what your news tells you, what your television and newspapers say, this is how we feel. Despite all that has happened. Despite all the hurt, the pain, blood, sweat and tears. These two years have given us hope we never had.

Media coverage of the "anti-war" protests (including photos):
CNN: Thousands of protesters mark Iraq war anniversary
FoxNews: Protests Erupt on 2nd Anniversary of Iraq War

The protests were nowhere near as big as those held in February 2003, just before the war, when millions marched in cities around the world to urge President Bush and his allies not to attack Iraq.

The photos of protesters in this Little Green Footballs post reminded us of some previous cartoons (here and here).

Other blogger coverage (some overlap):
Rayra (Hollywood)
Trumpet Sounds (London)
IDF Israel (Montreal)
Banagor (San Fransisco)
Darleen's Place (San Diego)
Citizen Smash (San Diego)
Martin Lindeskog (Gothenburg)
Dean's World

(Most links via LGF or InstaPundit)

UPDATE -- March 21: More photos and blogger coverage: (San Francisco -- via Logical Meme)
KelliPundit (Providence)

UPDATE: This cartoon appeared in March 22nd edition of The Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at 07:58 PM

March 17, 2005

The Caribou's Nose


From FoxNews: Senate Votes to Open Oil Drilling in ANWR.

A closely divided Senate voted to approve oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge, a major victory for President George W. Bush and a stinging defeat for environmentalists who have fought the idea for decades.

By a 51-49 vote, the Senate on Wednesday put a refuge drilling provision in next year's budget, depriving opponents of the chance to use a filibuster to try to block it. Filibusters, which require 60 votes to overcome, have been used to defeat drilling proposals in the past.

"This project will keep our economy growing by creating jobs and ensuring that businesses can expand," Bush said in a statement. "And it will make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy, eventually by up to a million barrels of oil a day."

Environmentalists for years have fought such development, contending it would lead to a spider web of drilling platforms, pipelines and roads that would adversely impact the calving grounds of caribou, polar bears and millions of migratory birds that use the refuge's coastal plain.

Also from FoxNews: Crude Soars Above $57 Amid Supply Fears.

Crude oil futures prices soared above $57 a barrel, a new all-time record, Thursday as OPEC's pledge to increase output failed to assure traders who were worried about tight supply. ...

In a monthly report released Thursday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries warned that economic growth in the United States, China and Japan would push demand for its oil even higher in the second half of this year. It also said it was unclear what impact the resulting price increases could have.

For those not familiar with the tale that inspired the cartoon, you can read it here: The Camel's Nose in the Tent.

UPDATE -- March 21: This cartoon appears in today's Investor's Business Daily.

Posted by Forkum at 01:21 PM

March 15, 2005

China Syndrome


FoxNews reported yesterday: U.S. Displeased With China Vote.

The Bush administration said Monday that China's threat to use force to stop any Taiwanese move toward independence is an "unfortunate" development that could increase tensions in the region. ...

China's parliament on Monday, voting unanimously with two abstentions, enacted a law authorizing force if Taiwan pursues formal independence [from] mainland China.

Taiwan and China split in 1949, but Beijing considers the democratic, self-ruled island to be Chinese territory. Beijing has threatened repeatedly to attack if Taiwan tries to make its de facto independence permanent.

We shouldn't be surprised by communist China's aggressive moves. They already have hundreds of missiles aimed at the island, and in the short term they have everything to gain from annexing wealth-producing Taiwan. But what continues to be disappointing is how the Bush administration plays both sides. As the article goes on to explain:

Any outbreak of hostilities could ensnare the United States, which is Taiwan's biggest arms supplier and is bound by the Taiwan Relations Act to help Taiwan defend itself. There are 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan and 35,000 in South Korea. Under Washington's one-China policy, the United States agrees to have no diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognizes Beijing as China's sole government.

This precarious position of supporting both a one-China policy and an independent Taiwan is why the administration so worships the status quo and "stability." When Taiwan last made moves for independence, the Bush administration came down against Taiwan (as we covered in this cartoon). Such diplomatic moral equivalence is not in America's long-term interest.

In yesterday's New York Post, Peter Brookes outlined the China Challenge. (Via TIA Daily)

With a white-hot economy, a burgeoning defense buildup, a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and a growing nuclear arsenal, China is fast becoming an Asian -- and global -- superpower.

Increasingly confident of its political and economic clout, Beijing is dead center of many of the days' most volatile international security issues, including North Korea, Iran and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

American relations with Beijing are arguably more stable than at any time in the recent past. But the potential for political, even military, confrontation with the U.S. and its allies over critical security issues is ever present -- and growing.

By far the greatest concern is China's military buildup. Buttressed by double-digit defense budget growth for 14 years in a row, including a 13 percent bump-up this year, China now has the world's second largest defense budget at $65 billion.

UPDATE I -- March 16: George Jonas writes in the National Post: Selling out Taiwan. (Via Martin Lindeskog)

Things may be looking up for democracy in the Near East, but the Far East is a different story. By the end of today [March 14], China's figurehead "parliament" will have rubber-stamped Beijing's new anti-secession law. China's rulers are giving themselves the green light to invade Taiwan.

They may not need to bother. The world seems ready to hand democratic Taiwan -- a.k.a. the Republic of China -- to Mao Tse-Tung's heirs on a platter.

UPDATE II -- March 22: This cartoon appears in today's Investor's Business Daily.

Posted by Forkum at 03:27 PM

March 13, 2005

Coming Home


This cartoon is based on a suggestion from Rich Chandler.

Colorado University Professor Ward Churchill first gained national notoriety when it became widely known that he referred to some victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack as "little Eichmanns" in a paper titled "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens." FoxNews reported: 9/11 Prof Says He Mourns U.S., Iraqi Dead.

But it didn't end there. Los Angeles Times has the latest charges against the professor and a good overview of controversy: One Issue Triggers Firestorm of Doubt About Professor (free subscription required).

[Churchill's] claim to be an American Indian, his scholarship, whether he promotes violence and how he got tenure so quickly are issues now under scrutiny. Most recently, he's been accused of art fraud, replicating paintings by the late Thomas Mails and selling them as his own. He said Mails gave him permission. ...

Churchill in the past had ties to militant organizations. On his resume, under the heading “political activism,” he wrote that after returning from a combat tour in Vietnam -- Army records list him as a light vehicle driver -- he became an organizer for the Students for a Democratic Society, a radical protest group.

"Later that year I became a member of the Weathermen faction and liaison to the Black Panther Party chapter in Peoria," he wrote. In a 1987 Denver Post story, Churchill said he taught the Weathermen, who bombed two dozen buildings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, how to make explosives.

Other information on the charges regarding academic plagiarism, artistic fraud, Indian ancestry, and terrorist training.

UPDATE -- March 28: More on Churchill, by Jonathan Rick: The Ward Churchill Debate.

Posted by Forkum at 10:32 PM

March 10, 2005

All Bark


AP reports today: Annan Calls for Treaty Outlawing Terrorism.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Thursday for a world treaty on terrorism that would outlaw attacks targeting civilians and establish a framework for a collective response to the global threat.

Although the United Nations and its agencies already have 12 treaties covering terrorism, a universal definition has been elusive.

World leaders and officials have had deep disagreements over whether resisters to alleged oppression -- for example, Palestinian suicide bombers attacking Israeli targets — are terrorists or freedom fighters; and whether states that use what they think is legitimate force might be branded terrorists.

But Annan was categorical in his address Thursday to terrorism experts and world leaders from 50 countries ... "The right to resist occupation ... cannot include the right to deliberately kill or maim civilians," Annan told the conference on democracy, terrorism and security. The United Nations, he said, must proclaim “loud and clear that terrorism can never be accepted or justified in any cause whatsoever."[Emphasis added]

However, it's impossible to take Mr. Annan seriously when just days ago AP also reported: U.N. Must Accept Hezbollah, Annan Says.

The United Nations must recognize Hezbollah as a force to be reckoned with in implementing the U.N. resolution calling for the withdrawal of all Syrian forces from Lebanon and the disarmament of the country's militias, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday.

He was responding to a question about the disarmament of Hezbollah, which showed its strength Tuesday at a huge pro-Syrian rally in Beirut attended by hundreds of thousands of people who chanted anti-U.S. slogans. Two huge banners read in English: "Thank you Syria" and "No to foreign interference."

Annan said the world needs to accept that in every society different groups may hold different views. [Emphasis added]

UPDATE I: Today is the first anniversary of the Madrid terrorist bombings. Charles Johnson has appropriate comments.

UPDATE II -- March 15: This cartoon appeared in today's The Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at 08:39 PM

March 08, 2005

Foreign Interference


FoxNews reports: Pro-Syrian Protesters Rally in Beirut.

Nearly 500,000 pro-Syrian protesters and members of Hezbollah descended upon central Beirut on Tuesday, chanting anti-American slogans in an effort to counter weeks of huge rallies demanding the immediate exit of Syrian forces.

Coming just one day after Syrian and Lebanese leaders announced that Syrian forces would begin moving out of Lebanon, the protesters were answering a nationwide call by the militant Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group for the public demonstration.

Organizers handed out Lebanese flags and directed the men and women to separate sections of Riad Solh Square, which is near U.N. offices. Loudspeakers blared militant songs urging resistance to foreign interference. Demonstrators held up pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and signs saying, "Syria & Lebanon brothers forever."

Other placards read: "America is the source of terrorism"; "All our disasters are from America"; "No to American-Zionist intervention; Yes to Lebanese-Syrian brotherhood."

Black-clad Hezbollah guards handled security, lining the perimeter of the square and taking position on rooftops. Trained dogs sniffed for bombs.

Large cranes hoisted two giant red-and-white flags bearing Lebanon's cedar tree. On one, the words, "Thank you Syria," were written in English; on the other, "No to foreign interference."

Ralph Kinney Bennett at explains why Hezbollah terrorists want continued Syrian occupation of Lebanon: Deconstructing Demonstration Day (Via InstaPundit).

Hezbollah, remember, is the 800-pound terrorist gorilla in the Lebanese living room. Heavily financed by Iran at its birth in the early 1980s, this guerrilla group is now thinly disguised as a political party and even has 13 members in the Lebanese Parliament.

But if you want to get some perspective on Hezbollah as a political party (or "Lebanese faction" as the New York Times called it), think Nazi party in the German Reichstag in the early 1930s.

Hezbollah is the only Lebanese political party that has 25,000 men under arms. This is a disciplined militia, heavily armed with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, some artillery and a little armor.

All the other "factions" in Lebanon, Christian, Druze or Muslim, were formally disarmed when Syria moved into Lebanon at the end of the bloody civil war.

But Hezbollah, under Syria's control, has been allowed to swagger around Lebanon, stage theatric marches of ski-masked fighters for bored TV newsmen, and continue its war of hatred against Israel with few restraints.

And Robert Tracinski comments on the "me-too" demonstrations in today's TIA Daily:

The Axis of Evil strikes back, though in a tame, weakened form. A decade ago, anti-Syrian demonstrations would have been put down by brute force. Now, the Syrians try to play by the rules of a whole new game, trying to show that they have broad popular support by getting their Hezbollah lackeys to stage a pro-Syria street rally -- in awkward, self-conscious imitation of the recent anti-Syria demonstrations.

The Hezbollah rally is big, but don't let that fool you: it is the product of an entrenched organization practiced at the old ruse of staging "spontaneous" mass demonstrations. The anti-Syria rallies are far more significant precisely because they are, in fact, spontaneous. Most important, the pro-freedom demonstrators are the ones setting the agenda, not just on the style of the demonstrations, but on the *substance*.

Hezbollah is a factional militia -- yet its supporters wave the Lebanese flag, a symbol of anti-factional "national unity." It is in favor of perpetuating Syrian tyranny -- yet its rent-a-mob holds up pictures of pro-independence leader Rafik Hariri, whom even they must know was assassinated by Syria. And Hezbollah is funded and controlled by Syria and Iran -- yet it steals the slogan of "no foreign interference."

Most of all, the Syrian-staged "me-too" demonstrations, by the very fact that they copy the style of the opposition's peaceful demonstrations, grant the premise that the desires of the Lebanese people ought to be consulted -- a premise no dictatorship or terrorist organization can accept if it wants to survive.

UPDATE I -- March 9: Being a direct supporter of Hezbollah, Iran is also feeling the pressure being placed on the terrorist group in Lebanon. From a sympathetic Middle East Online article: Iran worried about Hezbollah's future in Lebanon. (Via Free Thoughts)

"It should be noted that the pressures on Syria, using the pretext of pulling out of Lebanon, is apparently a predetermined plan by the Zionist regime in order to guarantee the expansionist policies of Israel," said foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi.

A photo of the "no foreign interference" banner used at the pro-Syrian demonstration can be seen at Alicio i Underlandet.

UPDATE II -- March 10: Our thanks goes to David Harnasch for pointing out the "inteference" typo in the cartoon (now fixed).

Posted by Forkum at 08:47 PM

March 07, 2005

Anchor Aweigh


In light of Dan Rather's imminent departure this week from the news anchor desk, we are re-posting this cartoon from November.

From AP via WABC-TV: Will National Guard Story overshadow Dan Rather’s 50 Year Career?.

As his final evening newscast approaches on Wednesday, Dan Rather is seeing the indignities pile up as quickly as the roses that were tossed in the path of Tom Brokaw when the NBC anchorman stepped down late last year.

The latest came in a New Yorker magazine article, where fellow CBS News legends Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace talked about how difficult it was to watch Rather as an anchor.

The embattled Rather is left fighting for something largely beyond his control -- his reputation. Will his role in last fall's discredited story about President Bush's military service ultimately overshadow his remarkable 50 year career?

Posted by Forkum at 10:12 PM

March 06, 2005

Rules of Engagement


CNN reports: Ex-hostage disputes U.S. account of shooting.

An Italian journalist shot by U.S. forces in Iraq shortly after being freed from her captors disputes a U.S. account of the incident in which she was wounded and a security agent protecting her was killed.

In an article published Sunday in her newspaper, Il Manifesto, Giuliana Sgrena wrote, "Our car was driving slowly," and “the Americans fired without motive." She described a “rain of fire and bullets” in the incident.

The U.S. military said Sgrena’s car rapidly approached a checkpoint Friday night, and those inside ignored repeated warnings to stop. Troops used arm signals and flashing white lights, fired warning shots in front of the car, and shot into the engine block when the driver did not stop, the military said in a statement. ...

Saturday, the left-leaning Il Manifesto accused U.S. forces of "assassinating" Calipari.

Sgrena's partner, Pierre Scolari, also blamed the shooting on the U.S. government, suggesting the incident was intentional.

"I hope the Italian government does something because either this was an ambush, as I think, or we are dealing with imbeciles or terrorized kids who shoot at anyone," he said, according to Reuters. [Emphasis added]

Dave Dilegge at Small Wars Journal (see "7 March 2005") has commentary and a compilation of articles illustrating how this incident is being exploited by that "anti-war" left to smear America. Little Green Footballs is also following the story closely.

UPDATE I -- March 7: InstaPundit has more.

UPDATE II: CNN reports: White House: U.S. didn't target journalist.

Responding to Sgrena's statement that the car may have been deliberately targeted, [White House press secretary Scott] McClellan said. "It's absurd to make any such suggestion, that our men and women in uniform would target individual citizens. "That's just absurd," McClellan repeated.

He said the airport road "has been a place where suicide car bombers have launched attacks. It's been a place where regime elements have fired upon coalition forces. It is a dangerous road, and it is a combat zone that our coalition forces are in. Oftentimes, they have to make split second decisions to protect their own security."

UPDATE III: Michelle Malkin gets results regarding a contradiction in a CNN story on the Sgrena incident. Davids Medienkritik finds that previous Sgrena reports indicate she knew the dangers. And The Jawa Report has many related links

UPDATE IV -- March 8: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) Investor's Business Daily.

UPDATE V: Here is an Italian translation of our cartoon by buroggu.

UPDATE VI: This cartoon appeared in Tuesday's The Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at 10:37 PM

March 03, 2005

Consensus Justice


Investor's Business Daily editorialized today under the title "Referendum Justice".

Beneath the dust kicked up is the ugly fact that the ruling in Roper vs. Simmons wasn't based on the Constitution. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited not America's founding document and guiding law, but "national consensus" and "international opinion."

How is it that a majority of our Supreme Court justices, all with presumably first-rate intellects, can have such a fundamental misunderstanding of their duty?

That duty was made clear in Marbury vs. Madison more than 200 years ago, when Chief Justice John Marshall concluded that the court must rule on the constitutionality of legislated law.

In 2005, however, Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens use "national consensus" and "international opinion" to interpret what the Eighth Amendment means when it says "cruel and unusual punishments" are not to be inflicted. ...

Justices must decide what the framers meant by "cruel and unusual." Reading today's mood using the "evolving standards of decency" test cited by the Missouri court that initially ruled against executing juvenile offenders is like putting a finger to the wind. If they and the "living document" faction don't like what they read in the Constitution, they have to change it through the process provided.

UPDATE -- March 7: This cartoon appears in today's (Monday's) Investor's Business Daily.

Posted by Forkum at 08:44 PM

March 02, 2005

Pain and Suffering


From The Boston Globe (AP): Vatican decries 'religion of health'. (Hat tip Joe Wright via HBL email list)

Vatican officials on Thursday [Feb. 17] held out Pope John Paul II's stoic suffering with Parkinson's disease as an antidote to the mentality that modern medicine must cure all, calling this a "religion of health" that is taking hold in affluent countries.

"While millions of people in the world struggle to survive hunger and disease, lacking even minimal health care, in rich countries the concept of health as well-being figures in creating unrealistic expectations about the possibility of medicine to respond to all needs and desires," said the Rev. Maurizio Faggioni, a theologian and morality expert on the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life.

"The medicine of desires, egged on by the health care market, increases the request for pharmaceutical and medical-surgical services, soaks up public resources beyond all reasonableness," Faggioni said. ...

Psychiatrist Manfred Lutz, a Vatican academic, hailed John Paul, who for years has struggled with Parkinson's, as "the living alternative to the prevailing health-fiend madness." ... "Precisely in the handicap, in the disease, in the pain, in old age, in dying and death one can, instead, perceive the truth of life in a clearer way," Lutz said. "The pope's message is 'suffering is part of life and has meaning," the doctor said.

Posted by Forkum at 06:03 PM

March 01, 2005

Domino Effect Redux


This cartoon is from September 2002 and is in our first book, Black & White World. With yesterday's resignation of the Syrian government in Lebanon and recent concessions to democracy in Egypt, all coming after Iraq's elections, some commentators are using the phrase "domino effect" to describe the events. A good example is this editorial from today's Telegraph: Arab world squirms at impact of Bush's call for freedom.

Unless [Syrian President Bashar] Assad can transform himself, two bombs in February -- one that murdered the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, and the other last week's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv blamed on Syrian-backed radicals -- may come to be seen as marking the final decline of his regime. Mr Bush will doubtless be hoping that this "domino effect" will also be felt on the other side of Iraq -- in Iran.

Though the cartoon doesn't address "freedom" or even "democracy," we thought it deserved a post in light of recent developments.

Posted by Forkum at 09:26 PM

Second Annual Report

March 2nd is our second blog anniversary. Last year we had much to recap. This year, however, because we've made regular announcements, there's less to report. Our two big announcements this past year were: 1) Being published regularly in Investor's Business Daily, The Detroit News and other publications and Web sites; and 2) Publishing our second book, Black & White World II. So what's new?

Regarding publications: We happened to get some good news today. We're proud to report that our "Oh, Canada" cartoon will appear in tomorrow's (March 2) print edition of the national Canadian daily National Post, which has a circulation of over 250,000. In short: C&F invades Canada!

Since our July announcement, other publications and Web sites have published our cartoons, too, including (but not limited to):

-- Investigate Magazine (Australia and New Zealand)
-- Legal Juris
-- NYU Law School Magazine
-- The Triangle (Drexel University)
-- The Hemingford Ledger
-- Front Range Rampart
-- President & CEO Magazine

Our cartoons also appeared nationally in the documentary FahrenHYPE 9/11 and its companion book.

Our thanks goes to all those who have brought our cartoons to life with ink and paper.

Regarding books sales: The second book has been more successful for us than the first. Of course, we're always looking for more sales, so you'll regularly see old cartoons posted on the blog as a way of advertising the books. It won't be long before the first book is out of print, so get it while you can. We're grateful to everyone who has purchased our products -- you are helping us to continue.

There are other projects in the works, but that basically covers what's happened this past year. Again our thanks goes out to all our regular readers for spreading the word about our cartoons, especially the bloggers, who've helped make us know on the Web. And we still can't believe one of our book's made it into Saddam's palace (click and scroll)!

In the coming year, we hope you'll be seeing more of Cox & Forkum editorial cartoons in print and in pixels.

Posted by Forkum at 09:17 PM | Comments (10)