(1) I linked to this fabulous cartoon briefly back in July, but at the time, the SF Chronicle didn’t archive their strips and the link vanished after a couple of days. Now they’re archived! So go and enjoy more of Donald Asmussen’s “Bad Reporter”!

(2) I’m very lucky: I have friends write wonderfully, think clearly, exhibit much more patience and generosity of spirit than I, and demonstrate it more regularly than I deserve to enjoy in the emails they send. Here’s an example, from my friend and occasional “comment” contributor, Anne, who was able to attend a talk by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton last night:

“I just got back from hearing Bishop Gumbleton, and he was WONDERFUL — so inspiring. His general topic was, how to be people of peace in a post-9/11 world. He spoke of the foundation for peacemaking as resting on the twin pillars of justice and forgiveness, the latter defined as “that particularly Christian way of love: enemy-love.” He drew on the scriptures to show how Jesus stood for these two foundational practices that can be seen as embracing the concept and practice of nonviolence. I was especially struck by this statement: “Jesus taught us how to die, not how to kill.” It reminded me, again, of Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” (Old non-inclusive translation!) Gumbleton told many stories of people he has met in his travels, famous and not, who exemplify the way of nonviolence in their work for justice and love. I was very moved by all this, and inspired to keep on with the work to get change in the leadership of our country — not only change from what we have now, but continuing work for change away from using force and war to solve problems. You just contrast what I heard tonight with the claims of G.W. to be Christian, and it makes you want to weep. Thank God for the prophets we have in our midst!”

(3) The numerous critical responses to Bush’s speech to the UN made me read it more closely, which allowed me to take note of this gem: “We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace.” I wonder if he tried that shoe on before he said it? (Gruesomely mixed metaphor intended.)

Kofi Annan also spoke to the UN yesterday: “Those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it, and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it.” Hmmm… I didn’t find the entire transcript, so I have no context; I wonder, whoever could he be talking about?

(4) I hope he’s wrong, but Juan Cole’s observation is consistent with human behavior in other risky situations.

(5) I’m not as keen a Michael Moore fan as many on the political left, though I appreciate his documentaries. But he can be counted upon to rally the troops just when it’s needed, and his message this week is pretty darn good…

(6) Even the Air Force Times sounds suspicious of Bush’s “honorable

discharge.” (Via Daily Kos)

(7) This would really be a problem if a gay man were desperate enough to “look at (him) like that”… Jimmy Swaggart says “I’ve never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I’m gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I’m gonna kill him and tell God he died.” As this article points out, Swaggart’s threat amounts to hate speech, which is – among other things – an FCC violation. Let’s see if the FCC takes the same principled stand on homophobic hate speech that it takes with nipple exposures.

(8) OK, just GUESS who wrote this:

“Osama bin Laden is saying exactly what the enemies of the western empires said through the 20th century: The price of your occupation, the price of your empire in our world, is terror. The Islamic terrorists of 9/11 were over here because we were over there. We took sides in a religious civil war, their war, and they want us out of that war. The 15 hijackers from Saudi Arabia did not fly into the World Trade Center to protest the Bill of Rights. They want us off sacred Saudi soil and out of the Middle East.”

Patrick Buchanan! In a book (perhaps even more shockingly) recommended by Liz Smith.

(9) The Pentagon is selectively blocking access to the Federal Voting Assistance Program web site – the site through which most American civilians living overseas register to vote. An anonymous DOD employee spoke with Salon:

“This is a completely partisan thing,” one Defense Department voting official told Salon. The official, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of being fired, is one of the many people in the department assigned to help both uniformed military personnel as well as American civilians register to vote. The offical described the Pentagon as extremely diligent in its efforts to register soldiers stationed overseas — for instance, voting assistance officers have been told by the department to personally meet with all of the soldiers in their units in order to help them register. But the department has ignored its mandate to help overseas civilians who want to vote, the official said.

Not surprisingly, political pollsters believe that uniformed military personnel, especially military officers, lean toward Republicans in their voting habits; American civilians who live abroad, meanwhile, are particularly progressive. One recent Zogby survey, for example, showed that voters with passports supported Kerry over Bush by a margin of 55 to 33 percent.

The official — a self-described Democrat who adheres to requirements of non-partisanship as a voting officer — could see no explanation other than pure political trickery in the Pentagon’s decision to block the FVAP Web site. “There is no way in hell that this is not a deliberate partisan attempt to systematically disenfranchise a large Democratic voting bloc,” the official said.

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