Saturday, December 20, 2008

Warren Invitation Disappoints Graphic Artists

Shepard Fairey, the graphic artist who did TIME magazine's Person of the Year cover, makes a statement that speaks for me about my own graphic tribute to the president-elect.
Tomorrow my illustration for Time Magazine’s “Person of The Year” hits the newsstands. While I’m very honored to be validated by a periodical that is nothing short of an American institution, the moment is bittersweet because I’m very disappointed by Obama’s appointment of Rick Warren to deliver his invocation during Obama’s inaugural address. Rick Warren is against gay marriage and reproductive rights, and he does not believe in evolution (maybe he offers himself as proof of lack of evolution). I understand that Obama is trying to appeal to conservatives and evangelicals, but this move is symbolically a slap in the face to many people. Warren is not a uniter, but a divider… he is intolerant in many of his views. I still think Obama is the best choice for president, but I can’t condone Warren’s involvement in Obama’s inauguration, no matter how insignificant it is. While I’m on the subject of gay marriage, I will be donating a chunk of the proceeds from an inauguration poster of Obama I was asked to create to the movement to overturn Prop 8. At first I was considering pulling my inauguration poster, but I think re-directing funds from it to put into a cause I care about is actually more constructive. Plus, I wouldn’t want withdrawing the image to come across as a blanket boycott of Obama. I’m sure I will ultimately disagree with Obama about many things, but I think I will agree with him on more. I think it is important to speak one’s mind, but also to not let the narcissism of petty differences sabotage our unity and progress.

Monday, December 15, 2008

So What, Me Worry?

BUSH: One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take–

RADDATZ: But not until after the U.S. invaded.

BUSH: Yeah, that’s right. So what? The point is that al Qaeda said they’re going to take a stand. Well, first of all in the post-9/11 environment Saddam Hussein posed a threat. And then upon removal, al Qaeda decides to take a stand.

We Are All Iraqi Journalists Now

This is a goodbye kiss, you dog.
This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.
Update: Send your old shoes to Dubya's Liberry

Friday, November 21, 2008

The One

(click image for larger size)

Because he's the coolest President ever.
And because that's what we do at in a slow economy.

[Update: A viewer dubbed this Neobama.]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Peter Schiff: Smart, Courageous Prophet of the Economy

It takes courage to stand up to the pack because they will turn on you for telling the truth and facing reality. The other analysts look like totally incompetent schmucks now, running around like herd animals with their heads up their collective ass. But of course, they will be the ones offered continuing appearances on the high profile platforms of the cable news shows. Can you say Ben Stein?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Few Minutes of Pure Joy and Elation

Bless the good citizens of Seattle. Bless the younger generation.

We are the ones we've been waiting for.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our Right-Of-Center Nation

The above map represents the shift toward Democratic in blue and toward Republican in red between 2004 and now. The darker the color, the greater the shift.

The Village pundits continue to insist that Obama must govern to the right because the United States is a right-of-center country. What's wrong with this picture?

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Menace in Vermont

The mother of a gay child speaks out in a letter to the editor of a Vermont newspaper.
Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and I've taken enough from you good people. I'm tired of your foolish rhetoric about the "homosexual agenda" and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

My first born son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade. He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay. He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys. He was called "fag" incessantly, starting when he was 6.

In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn't bear to continue living any longer, that he didn't want to be gay and that he couldn't face a life without dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it's about time you started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours, and you won't get to choose. Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I don't know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, you'd best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I'm puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If that's not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by outsiders. Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I am heart and soul, a Vermonter, so I'll thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for "true Vermonters."

You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn't give their lives so that the "homosexual agenda" could tear down the principles they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasn't the measure of the man.

You religious folk just can't bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance. How dare he, you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage. You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 Valley News who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about "those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing" asks: "What ever happened to the idea of striving to be better human beings than we are?" Indeed, sir, what ever happened to that?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

McCain Associates With Communists For Over Five Years!

My fellow prisoners, just who IS John McCain? Hmmmmm?

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Open Letter To The Red States

Dear Red States:

If we lose the 3rd Presidential Election in a row, we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.

We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom...or what's left

We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.

We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.

We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of obese single teenage moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for 'God's War' on 'The Others', and will deem you 'unpatriotic' if you disagree with their neo-conservative point of view.  We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn-up and you secure all of those oil sources and military bases, but we're not willing to spend our lives and resources in Bush-ney's egomaniacal, misguided, and manipulative political agenda.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners - what irony), 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you. Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred (unless we're discussing the Iraq war, the death penalty or gun laws), 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals superior to we lefties.

By the way, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

Peace out,
Blue States

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Morning & The Political Campaign Landscape

A friend's brother writes...
The Political Campaign Landscape and WHY
I am going to drop out of the current politics and do drugs:

and there is nothing else to do
save watch the totally neurotic, if not psychotic,
playing out,
with tragic characters dying
under the lights of the media.



I voted here by mail in ballot over two weeks ago,
and this election is a dead horse,
being beat upon by bigots,
the insanity of Palin believing in her own PR,
the pathetic figure of McCain trying to scratch his way
out of the unethical hole into which he has dug himself,
Biden who cannot pick and choose his words, and
who is being supplanted by Hillary on the trail with Obama,
who, HIMSELF, is trying to keep his head above Republican DISTRACTIONS
who fear a conversation on real issues
and which distractions seek to suppress the issues....

When the media dwells on McCain's psychotically angry sibling (like himself),
When the media dwells on Palin's goddamned party-paid wardrobe,
When the media dwells on Joe, the not-a-plumber Plumber,
When the media dwells on the "impending doom"
of a Black uprising
(even on NPR),
which uprising will supposedly happen whether Obama wins or looses,
because Blacks "can't control themselves in either eventuality ... "
I was totally surprised by such an insulting presentation by NPR,
under the guise of intellectual pursuit of some so called
social political understanding!

but not by much!
I was driving on the freeway on my way to work one morning,
and nearly drove off the roadway, when I heard it.

NONE. The media has clearly lost its mind and direction.


They want to talk about WHAT IFs,
while the WHAT AREs are being ignored!

McCain will win votes at ANY COST, EVEN HIS COUNTRY...
The Media will win market share at ANY COST, EVEN THIS COUNTRY...
And the People and This Country
have become Bastard Children and Orphans

So...We are dropping out...
We have not watched MSNBC or FOX for over a week,
and have only dropped in on CNN to watch the market.

Thank God for Colin Powell's level headed assessment of the choices, and
Thank God for the economy going into the toilet....
I would have never guessed that reason would have come from Powell,
nor that the single reason for a vote for Obama would be a failing Economy:
but :)
these two single factors may be the only things
that get Obama into the Oval
and saves us from the further evils of
Republican Courts,
Republican Evil Jockeying for Big Business interests
and personal financial gain at the people's EXPENSE,
at the expense of the literal destruction of this country's financial fabric

So maybe a Recession is just what we needed

I am still not impressed with Colin...
He should have known that he was working for assholes,
I think he is a good and moral man...
but a little SLOW to perceiving reality in the moment!
The handwriting was and has been on the wall
long before his fairly recent epiphany..
I'll not give him more credit than he deserves
as a Johnny Come Lately!
But COME LATELY better than not at all.

One last comment...

I think it speaks to who we are as individuals
and as a singular nation of this world,
that a man who is half white and half black,
with a glass of Chardonnay in his hand
IS nevertheless ... BLACK ...
and ALL BLACK if you would believe the MEDIA/PR that is out there.

Obama is being painted in such a way as to generate FEAR
... and McCain IS part of this deceit AND HE KNOWS IT ...
and that makes him and Palin flat out evil.

As a matter of fact...
Obama is just BARELY blacker than I am,
and I have the whitest ol' ass in Los Angeles :)

I just wanted to end on a LIGHTER REALITY note!

I am OUT of this current campaign politics until voting results are in.
Most of the stuff I am getting is just REHASH or CRAP...
even from the NYTimes and Washington Posts and Huffinpuff :) ...
and nonsense.

I am simply trashing my subscription emails until election day is over.

It is enuf to say that

Have a nice Sunday ...
Am going to go out and smell the fresh air for the day :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008


This Obama bud's for you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Double Standard Much?

The video is entitled "I'm Confused", but of course we are not confused at all about the fact that what we have witnessed in this race is a story of ethnic and cultural hypocrisy. It's subtle and insidious enough to have escaped the attention of the media and other observers of the political scene, but when the candidates' histories are juxtaposed in this way, the racial bias is breathtaking.

The following is from an email that is going around:
  • What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?
  • What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
  • What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
  • What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?
  • What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?
  • What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?
  • What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
  • What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
  • What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)
  • What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
  • What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?
  • What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?
  • What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?
  • What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?
  • What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?
You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Educational Background:
  • Barack Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
  • Joseph Biden: University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
  • John McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
  • Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism
Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call.

Vote Barack by M.C. Howie & Julie

Howie & Julie's very clever Palin directed videos are here and here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Turtle And The Mouse (and the financial crisis)

There was a turtle and there was a mouse
And earlier this year they owned a house
What you say this must be a mistake
But not so my friend not in 2008

You see for years we had created these toys
Mortgage backed securities created by the boys
Who smoke cigars and rode in sedans
And bought up the Hampton's and other fine lands

You see there were so few who understood the indentures
The complex documents that controlled this debt misadventure
That money was lent and made so available
That any borrower's credit was essential unassailable

It all started so innocently the concept was simple
You could split a mortgage between interest and principal
By moving the payments just slightly around
Then many more mortgages could ultimately be found

We built a market with these altered cash flows
Buyers all over the world would help them grow
Money would be lent even from foreigners
So no one would have to borrow from banks on the corner

In fact as the money moved around so fast
It eventually wasn't clear who really touched it last
What started out as money for a home
Turned into a way to get a free loan

Because it wasn't the house that provided security
It was money for free that was used in absurdity
Dogs were seeing therapist, and were eating pate
Cats no longer drank milk, as the now preferred lattes

People were buying anything and all
Because the loans, well they would never be called
So cars got bigger, I mean bigger than big
So large in fact that they were referred to as rigs

Everything got inflated like boats became ships
It even extending to the size of the lips
On woman who injected some poisonous things
And worked out all day to carry 10 carat rings

And this spread thru the world this debt frenzied craze
To Russia and China where cities were razed
So new buildings would be built taller than tall
And the world's biggest cranes were sent one and all

Those factories were full and built toys full of lead
Monks in Tibet were beat on the head
But no one dared to make too much noise
Where or where would we buy all our toys

We now were a nation driven by consumption
With money lent by others that was the assumption
Even Russia was strong with its oil propped up ruble
Buying half of France, they somehow even made Americans look frugal

And of course lets not forget we were on the attack
By blowing up oil fields in terrorist filled Iraq
Of course that resulted in oil prices going sky high
And well maybe we were told just a few white lies

And while our soldiers were killed and were killin'
Well we wasted somewhere close to almost $3 Trillion
But somehow I've digressed and moved a bit off the story
About how we borrowed our way to this financial gory

So all of us borrowed more than we could
Well maybe the word is more than we should
But to our rescue and to make the game even more fun
Someone decided they could insure everyone

As long that is as no one ever really failed
How would anyone know this was just a fish tale
An innocent story to make everyone feel safe
And if house prices kept going up it would all be great

So houses were built and sold with such glee
The loans got so cheap they were actually free
As strange as it seems there was even a time
When you could buy a million dollar house with less than a dime

And if you held that house for like 30 days
You could then refinance it and pretend it was paid
The loan that you knew you never should took
Was effectively sold by some not so nice crooks

Then once all the people had eventually bought
The brokers decided that animals could be sought
They should buy houses on the same silly terms
Turtles and mouse's and I even heard worms

They were living in mansions instead of outdoors
They were refinishing bathrooms with inlaid marble floors
It was amazing how much wealth had been created
Just by taking some cash flows and have them inflated

And then twisted and turned and traded between
So everyone everywhere was involved in the scheme
Bilking the poor and those without money
Loans were made and bees stopped making honey

And it all would have continued on its slick little course
If it wasn't for the unfortunate divorce
Of the turtle and mouse who bought their fine home
But needed to sell it when they went on their own

You see they had to sell it in just one night
And the value of their house well it decreased oh so slight
Never before had such a thought occurred
And all the insurers well they all demurred

They told the banks we can't really provide
Any insurance if housing prices actually slide
And the banks then decided well what was it worth
To carry all these securities of which they gave birth

So one dumped his quickly so he wouldn't get burned
and started a rumor about poor Bear Stearns
Next thing you know they got quite a reamin'
And a few months after that it was the House of Lehman

Then panic set in and everyone started to sell
Stocks and Bonds... heck everything fell
How could this happen who was in charge
How could a mess be suddenly so large

Then that's the point where the pol's got involved
Not even grasping the problem to solve
But what a great way to take a position
On how to blame the other parties condition

Uncle Ben and pal Hank tried to provide some relief
So banks would start lending based on a belief
That buying the bad loans and credit default swaps
Would prevent any more institutions from another big flop

We lost WaMu and Wachovia and more
Morgan Stanley was even almost out the door
But somehow John Mack and Goldman found a way
To make themselves banks in just one day

Wells, Citi, JP and B of A
They just sat back and picked up the scraps all day
And lest we forget the best of them all
The boys who ran hedge funds and shorted them all

No need for an uptick no need for cash
Just short those stocks until they inevitably would crash
Its just the free market and capital formation
Really no connection to a Senate Banking relation

What were these swaps and derivative things
Who was responsible for this terrible swing
And no one it seemed wanted to face the fact
That we all knew it was a game that went way back

To the changes we made in the way that we manage
The risk that we took and what we knew it could damage
But everyone was winning so big for so long
That no one can admit that it was just so wrong

We lost our focus on building true wealth
Instead we needed more crap to put on our shelves
We borrowed money to satisfy our greed
We forgot to give to those in need

And while this is hard and will cause dislocation
We have the chance for an invocation
Remember when something is too good to be true
Its just what your grandma always told you

Work hard be honest and pray for your health
Because that is the only real thing in life that is wealth
And even though they lost that house
I'm hoping that turtle gets back with the mouse

- poem by Steve

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clean Coal

This, and that Star Wars missile defense shield, and we'll be good.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palin' Around With Wolf Murderers

There she goes again. Say it ain't so, Sarah!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Palin/Fargo/Ebert Mashup

When (Palin) was on familiar ground, she perked up, winked at the audience two or three times, and settled with relief into the folksiness that reminds me strangely of the characters in "Fargo."

Palin is best in that persona. You want to smile with her and wink back. But who did she resemble more? Marge Gunderson, whose peppy pleasantries masked a remorseless policewoman's logic? Or Jerry Lundegaard, who knew he didn't have the car on his lot, but smiled when he said, "M'am, I been cooperatin' with ya here." Palin was persuasive. But I felt a brightness that was not always convincing.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sarah Palin's Notes

A Celestial Teapot Exclusive! Our investigative reporters and garbage rummagers have discovered Governor Palin's pre-interview prep notes, showing that her answers were memorized and recited by rote.

Debate Advice For Joe Biden

Don't say a word!

But if you must, just speak very briefly about what a great guy Obama is. Then relinquish the balance of your time to your opponent.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The MSM: Pigs With Lipstick

And a complimentary observation from Krugman:

Why do the McCain people think they can get away with this stuff? Well, they’re probably counting on the common practice in the news media of being “balanced” at all costs. You know how it goes: If a politician says that black is white, the news report doesn’t say that he’s wrong, it reports that “some Democrats say” that he’s wrong. Or a grotesque lie from one side is paired with a trivial misstatement from the other, conveying the impression that both sides are equally dirty.

They’re probably also counting on the prevalence of horse-race reporting, so that instead of the story being “McCain campaign lies,” it becomes “Obama on defensive in face of attacks.”

John McLiar

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Enough is Enough

If McCain/Palin go on to win the election, and the country continues to slide down the tube with their same old policies, we'll want to look back on the low point of the American electoral "process" and remember what Obama was trying to talk about.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kerry's Speech

This is the speech you should have heard but probably missed unless you were watching C-SPAN, because the cable commentators were more interested in their own analysis than listening to the well-crafted, impassioned speech they had been looking for.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Disney Appropriated My Work

I created the above illustration in 1996 while experimenting with some of Photoshop's new filters and effects. I wanted to try the ZigZag distortion filter to get the effect of a sky reflected in rippling water. I thought it needed additional visual interest, so I found a photo of an oak leaf and an acorn crafted out of wood and composited them onto the background.

I then published the finished piece on my website entitling it Acorn Sky.

A few weeks ago, I glanced at the TV and was astonished to see this same image, or one very much like it - animated with the water rippling concentrically outward and the title "Great Oaks" appearing on the water. As I continued to watch, hardly believing my eyes, I learned that it was the animated movie logo preceding the movie 101 Dalmations. I learned later that the same production company also created Flubber. I got a copy of Dalmations, aimed my camera at the tube and recorded the video below and then edited in my original graphic for comparison.

I have no comment or other than I doubt that it was an amazing coincidence that two people would independently arrive at imagery that is so nearly identical and within the same time frame. The likely explanation is that some animator out there searched Google images for "acorn" and stumbled across my piece. I guess I'm glad it was put to good purpose and that the guy made a few bucks from it.

It's not as if I haven't used the ideas of others once in a while. As Picasso is purported to have said, "Good artists copy. Great artists steal."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Walmart Logo Parody

I am working on a parody of the new, sucky, Walmart logo for a citizen's group that is trying to keep a super Walmart out of their fair city. I've taken the corporation's new slogan "Save money. Live better." and altered it a bit.

I invite your ideas for another new slogan.

Update: Another with emphasis on the China connection. And by the way, the first logo was a finalist in the Walmart logo redesign contest. This second one is my idea of how the winning entry could have been better.

What is the Name of this Character?

There is a "correct" answer. Let us know if you think you know.

Here is a hint: "Bush Jr."

The hint is obscure and may not help you come up with the right name, but it will confirm it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So, Just What IS a Logo Anyway?

I've done my fair share of logo design over the last few years. Clients understand that their business or enterprise should have a logo and know that they want somebody such as myself to create one for them. That is the good news. Many businesses don't make much of an effort to have a good logo and some don't bother to have a logo at all.

But when my services are engaged, I've discovered that I often have to educate my clients, not just about the process of creating a logo, but about a logo actually is. And their questions and confusions are not an entirely silly.

So here are some basic guidelines that I like to lay out up front to define and describe what a logo is.

  1. A modern logo is usually a flat, two dimensional, simple iconic shape. Otherwise called the logo icon.
  2. Ideally, that shape should work using one color only.
  3. Considering the first two guidelines, color, shading or texture appliled to the shape may be considered to constitute or be integral to the logo, but could also be considered optional and/or dependent on the context of any particular application or required format.
  4. Often, the name of the business, enterprise/ project, is an integral part of the logo, if not the logo itself.
  5. Most often, the name is text or characters that can be considered separate from the logo icon. I call it the logo text.
  6. The logo icon and the logo text can be used together or separately or in any combination that is best suited to the particular application or required format.
Just to take a most recent case history.

The client created this nice image himself some years ago. It is a totally flat, two dimensional shape defined by one color (white).

At some point, an artist applied some effects and textures and transformed it into a polished metal image.

I recently reapplied the metallic image onto another shape with some effects applied to give it the appearance of an embossed gold foil seal.

They are all logos of sorts, but the basic, essential logo that remains at the heart of them all is the original 2D shape.

A well designed logo doesn't have to be just one thing. It can be like a living thing that is adaptable to a changing environment. Like a person whose face and body - and character - remain the same, even as he or she dresses appropriately for the particular occassion.

And then there are the questions for which I have no good guidelines: Should a logo icon convey a message or information? Should it be interpretable, and if so, should it have meaning? Or is it more important, or just as important for it to be well crafted and distinct?

Note: I use the above hawk logo because it is the one I am currently working with and its various iterations provide a good, real world example. The owner is well aware of what a logo is and is not.

Edgy Photo Stylin'

Here is a tutorial for a cool little technique for adding style to portrait and glamour photography. Click the double arrows in the upper right corner for viewing options, or click here to view in a new window.

Edgy Photo Stylin' - Get more Creative Writing

Monday, July 14, 2008


A friend asked me today if I am not a believer in synchronicity. My answer is that yes, I do. It's happened to me often. I don't know if it has meaning or purpose. I'm agnostic, or even more than agnostic about that.

I am a great believer in coincidence. Sometimes amazing coincidence. When it's good, it's serendipitous. But there is that six degrees of Kevin Bacon thing and there are sound mathematical reasons for some apparent amazing coincidences.

I don't know about psychic energies creating such. Not sure at all. I am a big fan of science and empiricism and credible scientists have little to say about psychic energy. Although quantum physics, from what I've heard about it, sounds pretty mystical.

Here's an interesting set of circumstances that happened only a few weeks ago.

I was in the hardware store looking to buy a step ladder and was on my cell bullshitting with this very person who asked me the synchronicity question of earlier today. He asked where I was and I told him where I was and what I was there for. As I learned at that moment, he is, apparently, a leading authority on ladders, and he recommended the very brand and model that was there before me. He explained in depth his several reasons and theories about ladderdom, and so I'm sure he helped me make the right choice.

I had planned on buying a shorter size and the 8 footer my friend recommended wouldn't fit into my sedan. A guy in a wheelchair next to me in the parking lot, who had to hoist himself into the cab of his truck, made a comment or two and I joked about me putting it in the back of his flatbed and having him follow me to my house. He said he would be glad to. I joked that I only lived 20 miles away and, surprisingly, he said his offer was still good. I told him that I actually didn't live that far. He told me he was going home and described his route. I told him my home was right along the way and that I accept his offer. He asked the address we were going to in case we lost each other. I told him and he said he knew the street. He explained that when he was in high school in the early 70s he had dated a girl who lived on my street. He told me her name and it was the daughter of the previous owner of our house. My wife is friends with her sister who used to live next door when we first moved there.

The dude had been to my house before it was my house!

So, with a good deal of trust and confidence, I put the ladder on his flatbed, and he drove it to my house for me! I don't usually have strangers in parking lots deliver my large household purchases. In fact, I never do.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rob's Snapshots

Heck, just sharing some personal photos on a slow Sunday.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The CT Rapport: A Compendium Of Stuff

YouTube - Bill Moyers addresses NCMR 2008
Legendary journalist Bill Moyers address the National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis, June 7, 2008. Presented by For more speakers...

Reflections: Mine Is Longer than Yours: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker by Michael Kinsley
The last boomer game.

Inner city snail - a slow-moving street art project

Some Progress on U.S. Government's Financial Statements But Significant Problems Remain
The federal government's fiscal exposures totaled approximately $53 trillion as of September 30, 2007, up more than $2 trillion from September 30, 2006, and an increase of more than $32 trillion from about $20 trillion as of September 30, 2000," Walker said. "This translates into a current burden of about $175,000 per American or approximately $455,000 per American household.

360 degrees of Sen Obama's Detroit rally | | Detroit Free Press
This is a panoramic image. It does not represent a specific moment in time, but it captures the environment over several seconds, much like a video camera moving in a circle. It is created from a series of overlapping photos.

Truthdig - Cartoons - War Memorial
2008/06/22 - - War Memorial

"The Greatest Mass Exodus of Vehicles" in U.S. History? - Environment and Energy

Believe Me, It's Torture: Politics & Power: by Christopher Hitchens
What more can be added to the debate over U.S. interrogation methods, and whether waterboarding is torture? Try firsthand experience. The author undergoes the controversial drowning technique, at the hands of men who once trained American soldiers to resist—not inflict—it.

Let's Escrow Our Money to Keep Obama Progressive |

Onion's report, which predated this recent event
World's Oldest Neurosurgeon Turns 100 | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
Nothing can stop Carl Wainwright from doing what he loves best -- performing surgery on the human brain.

YouTube - George Carlin: education and the owners of America

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Russert & the Dems: Courtiers at Versailles

Chris Hedges writes:
The past week was a good one if you were a courtier. We were instructed by the high priests on television over the past few days to mourn a Sunday morning talk show host, who made $5 million a year and who gave a platform to the powerful and the famous so they could spin, equivocate and lie to the nation. We were repeatedly told by these television courtiers, people like Tom Brokaw and Wolf Blitzer, that this talk show host was one of our nation’s greatest journalists, as if sitting in a studio, putting on makeup and chatting with Dick Cheney or George W. Bush have much to do with journalism.
We chant in unison with Obama that we want change, we yell “yes we can,” and then stand dumbly by as he coldly votes away our civil liberties. The Democratic Party, including Obama, continues to fund the war. It refuses to impeach Bush and Cheney. It allows the government to spy on us without warrants or cause. And then it tells us it is our salvation. This is a form of collective domestic abuse. And, as so often happens in the weird pathology of victim and victimizer, we keep coming back for more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

By the ubiquitous Anonymous:

1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Next First Couple?

I love this visual, coming at the end of a very long campaign, between a great looking couple who apparently love, support and respect one another.

It looks like the future to me.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Two Clintonistas For McCain At The RBC

I half expected a group of her supporters to show up with their tongues cut out ala the Ellen Jamesians. In the case of the first lady, I sort of wish she had.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hillary Claims Lead In Crowd Support

Barack Obama drew a record crowd of 75,000 enthusiastic supporters at a rally in Portland Oregon on Sunday. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton claims that if her supporters weren't busy working second and third jobs, she would be leading Obama in drawing large crowds.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hillary Is Insane

Her supporters who encourage her to stay in the race are wildly partisan, hopelessly stubborn, vindictive, perhaps mildly or overtly racist, illogical, in denial, suffer from a sense victimization or gender oppression, don't understand the delegate math, or a combination of all the above. Or perhaps they are just as nuts as their candidate.

In a previous post I referenced a session in which clinical psychologist Ellen Ladowsky dissects Clinton's Bosnia tale. At the Huffington Post, Ladowsky expands upon her observations and delves into the matter more deeply. She rejects the notion that it was less a lie as it was a psychotic break from reality. And her subsequent explanation was so unreflective and unapologetic as to border on sociopathy. It's such a bizarre episode, from the telling of the tale itself to her subsequent explanation, yet seems to have not captured the interest that it deserves. If Obama had confabulated his own tale and promoted such a fantastic yarn as a truth, my trust and confidence in him would be shaken to the core and I would be too frightened to cast my vote for him.

Does the Hillary contingent not care about her lapse from reality into psychosis? Or do they prefer to think of it as another harmless lie from a politician? Do they understand and perhaps identify with her living in her own little reality bubble? Does this help to explain their ongoing support for her doomed candidacy?

Ludowsky writes...
In the course of Hillary's campaign, a number of features have repeatedly emerged that are also elements of her Bosnia tale. 1) Hillary is both hero and victim; 2) facts are of no consequence; 3) And there are no witnesses or observers to the facts. This last point is always startling. For example, Hillary's explanation of her vote on the war made Nora Ephron wonder if Hillary thought we "weren't alive at the time."
I know mass empathy from the large American delusional victims community doesn't completely explain the phenomenon of her continuing support. Some of it can be simply explained by Clinton supporter Carole Simpson's shockingly candid, and true, remark on Larry King last night "This country is about race."

Friday, May 9, 2008

McCain's Jeremiah?

I think John McCain has some rejecting and renouncing to do. But considering how important Ohio is to his presidential ambitions, will he?

David Corn over at Mother Jones has the scoop.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Superdelegates, Please Be Super

When I first learned about the existence of the superdelegates earlier this year, I was aghast at the notion that a group of party elders and party hacks should be able to determine the outcome of the race for the Democratic nomination. It seemed elitist and undemocratic. But now I see the wisdom behind it all.

The outcome of this race is almost certain. In fact, it as certain today as it has been for the last two months. The voters have spoken. (No, not all have voted, but when you have ten voters and you need a majority, you can stop after you get six votes in one direction. It's over.) It is only the spinning of reality by the Clinton campaign and the all too willing, craven and complicit media that has convinced a large portion of the electorate that this is still a contest.

By not putting an end to this process that goes on needlessly, the supers' lack of action only serves to damage Obama's chances in the general. The only thing it does is allow more time for Clinton to convince people that she is a populist and champion of the common man by drinking beer, hunting ducks, and promising fraudulent and irresponsible gas tax holidays - and that Barack is an elitist, unpatriotic, non flag lapel pin wearing angry black man who shares the views of radicals like Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers.

Of course, this is all crap. It is the old politics of fear and racism. It is Rovian, which is the worse thing that can be said of any politician. The only thing missing is the gay bashing and godless abortionists.

The idea of supers now seems like a very good one. They are more well-informed, more savvy and do know better than the average voter, especially the average white, elderly, rural, midwestern blue collar, Reagan Democrat voter. The problem is that they are not doing their job. They are inexplicably complacent, or timid or otherwise unmoved by the fierce urgency of now. We turn our eyes to them to deliver their party and this nation from the Clinton lies and from those remaining voters who are gullible, ill-informed, and bigoted enough to buy into what she is selling.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bill Is Hillary's Jeremiah

Leave it to the Rude Pundit to rudely mention the obvious, what he calls The Lewinsky Nuke, that even liberal bloggers are too polite to mention.
Let us say, and why not, that surrogates for the Obama campaign, aided and abetted by the RNC and the media, decided to go after Hillary Clinton in relation to the Monica Lewinsky scandal (and, to be clear, no matter what you think about impeachment, the President of the United States getting blown by a White House intern qualifies as a scandal). Let us say, and, indeed, why not, that in order to gain some ground lost by the interminable focus on Jeremiah Wright, Obama's surrogates decided it was time for a little refresher course in the shit people put up with in their personal lives.

It would be so fuckin' easy to take down Hillary Clinton, and the RNC knows it and can't wait for the chance to do it. Obama hasn't, and probably won't. Here's the one-two-three of how, if the Obama campaign truly wanted to go negative, the Clinton campaign would be over. Follow the bouncing ball of a logical progression to the nuke:
Read the whole thing...

Monday, April 28, 2008

God Bless Jeremiah? No, God Damn Jeremiah!

I have defended Wright up until this point even after the Moyers interview, which I thought was rather harmless and thought it showed the pastor in a positive light. I defended him against criticisms, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't mean to infer that Obama said things for purposes shielding his true thoughts, or for political expediency. But now with consecutive appearances before the NAACP and NPC, he has actively and quite unnecessarily inserted himself deeply into the Democratic campaign, and he has proven me wrong by affirming that indeed he did mean to imply Obama is something of a pandering, disingenuous politician. Whether intentional or no, whether passively or aggressively, the pastor is actively engaged in the process of throwing Obama under the bus.

I continue to argue that it is unfair to hold Obama accountable for his pastor's comments, or for the media or the other two candidates to try to conflate the two men into a single entity. But I am no longer cutting Wright any slack. At all. Perhaps Barack won't or can't denounce him (and I admire him for not doing so), but that doesn't prevent his supporters from doing so.

In a mirror corollary to Obama's position, I am, if not entirely in agreement with, then mostly sympathetic to Wright's socio-political preachings (save for AIDS conspiracy theories and the like). And the man certainly has a right to speak his mind in and about America.

My denunciation is of the man himself, for allowing his enormous ego to damage Obama's campaign. It is hard for me to believe the Reverend is completely unaware of the harm he might inflict. And if that is the case, then one must wonder if he is not intentionally attempting to undermine Obama's chances due to some interpersonal dynamic between the two not yet understood. But whatever the reason, it is unforgivable. With friends like that, who need enemies?

(I hate to end with a cliche, but there it is.)

Update: If an old friend is deliberately trying to run your campaign bus off the road and into a ditch, then the moral imperative is to throw that old friend under that bus and back up over him a few times, for the benefit of not only yourself, but for all the passengers on board, for the good of the country and the world. After having given Wright every benefit of the doubt, only to be rewarded with intentional personal betrayal, Barack did the right thing today.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pols, Pundits, Please Just Tell Us What You Really Think

We continually have candidates and their surrogates saying things like this:

No, I don't think he/she lacks integrity, but he/she says one thing and does another.

No, I don't think my opponent is a liar, but he/she keeps saying things he/she knows are untrue.

No, I don't think he/she is a [elitist, racist, etc.], but his/her comments are.

Must we really allow these politicians to continue to play these stupid games? Can't we get them to take a stand and go on the record as to what they really think of their opponents instead of engaging in all this childish innuendo?

And the same goes for journalists and pundits. If you keep raising the issues of flag lapel pins, fiery pastors and ex-Weather Undergrounders, even after the candidate has addressed those issues multiple times, and then continue to dog the issue even after having examined his personal history, read his writings and listened to his speeches, then maybe you should arrive at a conclusion about whether you think he is an America hating terrorist sympathizer, show the evidence upon which that conclusion is based, and say so outright - or just shut up, move on, and address those things that are factual, real and important to the American people.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

About That Kitchen Sink

We've heard a lot lately about Hillary's "kitchen sink" strategy. We've been bombarded with images of her or her campaign surrogates tossing sinks at Obama. Some, to reinforce the magnitude of the situation, may describe the sink as still filled with pots, pans, dishes, etc. The problem is, the metaphor entirely incorrect and is being grossly misused.

The phrase actually has to do with including everything except the kitchen sink. This is based on the idea that since the sink is built-in to the plumbing and cabinetry, it is extremely difficult to include, and so is specifically and logically excluded. An example of proper usage would be: "When she left, she took everything but the kitchen sink."

The Truth About Debategate

Do you think the members of the MSM will ever understand that they are actually the real elitists and are the ones that are truly out of touch with the lives or ordinary Amercians and the mood in this country? Don't you suppose they read Frank Rich?

Thus did another overhyped 2008 story line go embarrassingly bust, like such predecessors as the death of the John McCain campaign and the organizational and financial invincibility of the Clinton political machine against a rookie senator from Illinois. Not the least of the reasons that the Beltway has gotten so much wrong this year is that it believes that 2008 is still 1988. It sees the country in its own image — static — instead of as a dynamic society whose culture and demographics are changing by the day.

In this one-size-fits-all analysis, Mr. Obama must be the new Dukakis, sure to be rejected by white guys easily manipulated by Lee Atwater-style campaigns exploiting race and class. But some voters who lived through 1988 have changed, and quite a few others are dead. In 2008, they are supplanted in part by an energized African-American electorate and the young voters of all economic strata who fueled the Obama movement that many pundits didn’t take seriously before Iowa. And that some still don’t. Cokie Roberts of ABC predicted in February that young voters probably won’t show up in November because “they never have before” and “they’ll be tired.”

However out of touch Mr. Obama is with “ordinary Americans,” many Americans, ordinary and not, have concluded that the talking heads blathering about blue-collar men, religion, guns and those incomprehensible “YouTube young people” are even more condescending and out of touch. When a Washington doyenne like Mary Matalin, freighted with jewelry, starts railing about elitists on “Meet the Press,” as she did last Sunday, it’s pure farce. It’s typical of the syndrome that the man who plays a raging populist on CNN, Lou Dobbs, dismissed Mr. Obama last week by saying “we don’t need another Ivy League-educated knucklehead.” Mr. Dobbs must know whereof he speaks, since he’s Harvard ’67.

>>read the whole thing

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Black - White Perception Gulf

Many people were stunned to learn of Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright's belief that HIV was invented by the government as a means of genocide against people of color. What they did not realize is how widely that belief, and other conspiracy theories, is held amongst the black community.

John Stossel did a fascinating report on 20/20.

Part I

Part II

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Trust Your Senses

Steven Weber pens a disarmingly open note of admiration.

You can even feel the beginnings of respect germinating in places formerly barren from decades of retrograde rhetoric spewed from fear mongering demagogues whose sole reason for being seems to be the deterrence of hope, the halting of action, the deriding of dreams. Obama is an incongruity, wished for but rarely seen, compelling but distrusted by the senses. Real inspiration has been dead for so long on the American scene that half-assed darlings and penny-ante celebrities with the density of meringue have been to hoisted to heroic levels only to be subsequently proven inadequate to the charge, so desperate is America's need for a truly viable, truly courageous and truly substantial leader.

Hillary - Fantasist In Chief?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The First Lady's Foreign Policy Resume

The NYTimes vets Clinton's White House foreign policy experience.

But during those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.

And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.

Bradley Speaks His Mind

Former senator Bill Bradley, who is a leading supporter of Obama and ran for president in 2000, accused the Clintons of “lying” in pursuit of victory.

“The bigger the lie, the better the chance they think they’ve got. That’s been their whole approach,” he said. “She’s going to lose a whole generation of people who got involved in politics believing it could be something different.”

Bradley believes that Clinton will stop at nothing to tear down Obama even if it boosts John McCain, who was confirmed last week as the Republican nominee: “The Clintons do not do long-term planning. They’re total tacticians and right now their focus is on Obama, not McCain.”

It's good to hear credible, high profile Democratic leaders tell it like it is.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chillingly True

The Nooner reports:

I end with a deadly, deadpan prediction from Christopher Hitchens. Hillary is the next president, he told radio's Hugh Hewitt, because, "there's something horrible and undefeatable about people who have no life except the worship of power . . . people who don't want the meeting to end, the people who just are unstoppable, who only have one focus, no humanity, no character, nothing but the worship of money and power. They win in the end."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

We Start From The Same Place

Barack Obama with grandmother in Kenya, 2004
"We start from the same place. Nobody has an advantage no matter who you are or where you came from."
- Hillary Clinton, Los Angeles Democratic Debate, Jan 31, 2008

Hillary Rodham with family, Chicago, Illinois, 1953