Tuesday, April 28, 2009


tedI suppose I should take a bow.
For eight long years (years that passed like centuries for the
misérables rotting in cages at Guantánamo and Bagram and Abu Ghraib and
Diego Garcia and Bulgaria and the U.S. Navy's fleet of prison ships) no
one cared about torture. Law professors, politicians, and journalists
justified it. Even liberals didn't care: there wasn't one major protest
march against beating or raping or drowning people to death. Strange
but true: the only forces raging against the collective madness that
warped the American psyche after 9/11 were human rights organizations
and a couple of cartoonists.
The syndicated political cartoonist Matt Bors and I took point,
repeatedly ridiculing and ranting about the Bush Administration's
torture policies and Americans' tacit tolerance of it in cartoons we
knew would be reprinted in only a handful of publications. Editors and
readers advised us to "stop obsessing" and "move on." Award committees
passed us over in favor of cartoonists who bought Bush's tall tales
about WMDs in Iraq. We were blackballed.
At least they didn't shove a flashlight up my ass. That is a
favorite interrogation tactic at Gitmo (and Bagram, where Obama plans
to send the Gitmo victims next).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bumper Stickers and

Dear Columbia City Paper,

I guess you simply can’t understand that A + B = C. Governor Sanford
was elected by a majority of South Carolinians to protect their
interests and make state government work. Unfortunately, South Carolina
is not a rich state. We don’t have the money to provide everything to
everyone’s little heart desires. We need to recognize this fact and
focus on basic services and deficit reduction. Accepting the $700-odd
million in “bailout” money without using it to pay down debt is
criminally stupid.
First, let’s look at the governor’s proposal to pay down debt.

Is Obama shrinking the U.S. military?


On April 6, the Obama Administration unveiled its proposed 2010 military budget. 
Republican condemnation of Obama’s Pentagon spending plan was swift and severe.
“It seems the only place the President is willing to cut spending is on the armed forces,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia.).
“President Obama is disarming America,” said Sen. James Inhofe

“Our sons and daughters are risking their lives fighting
an enemy whose sole purpose is the destruction of our country and our
way of life, while their president disarms America. And all this to
support his welfare state.”

“And while the nation’s eyes have turned to a struggling economy, this
administration is taking steps to cut defense spending,” said talk
radio and FOXNews host Sean Hannity (R-Douchebagistan). “And that noise
you hear off in the distance, those are the mullahs — well, they’re
Disarming America? Welfare state? Mullahs ululating with glee?
Did Obama just propose disbanding the United States Marine Corps and
using the leftover money to fund mandatory K-Y Jelly, wine coolers, and
Mecca-facing abortion clinics for every public elementary school in
Not exactly.

Flora & Fauna at if Art

Greenville native, Carl Blair, presents abstract paintings and wooden sculptures in his brand new “Flora & Fauna” exhibition at if ART Gallery. Imagination mixes with wild color to produce this extraordinary collection by an artist who only discovered his color-blindness in college. After he began to study art he started wearing a red contact lens in his left eye to help to distinguish colors. While colors are obviously integral to painting, so, too, are dynamism and passion. Blair has both.  The colorful waves and thick lines blend effortlessly to create landscapes that are not detail-focused, but centered around color and shape.
Blair refers to his style as neither realistic nor abstract. “I refer to my work as visual poetry,” he says.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Peace and Celebration

The Art of Nikolai Oskolkov
and Olessia Maximenko 

By Judit Trunkos 


“Peace and Celebration” at Gallery 80808 is an exhibition featuring
two Russian-native painters whose multimedia works were inspired by
the pacifying nature and cultural richness of South Carolina. The result
is a collection of exquisite paintings and mosaics depicting moments
of every-day life.


Nikolai Oskolkov has been living
in South Carolina for the past 15 years and like most people, fell in
love with the enchanting woods and marshes of this state.  With his fellow
Russian artist, Olessia Maximenko, they employ everything from oils
on canvas, ink and pencil drawings, tempera and mosaics to capture the
essence of the state.


 â€œI worked for over half my
life here in Columbia,” Oskolkov says. “This is the place for me,
especially at springtime. This area is very rich in folk culture.”

What is the U.S. mission in Afghanistan?



UPDATE: What is the U.S. mission in Afghanistan?

Dear Reader(s),

In recent days, I've experienced a surprising emotion: nostalgia for the Bush era.

It's not nostalgia for his administration's catastrophic pairing of cronyism and incompetence.

It's not nostalgia for his "John Wayne with a speech impediment and kinda drunk" speaking-style.

is it nostalgia for the way Bush turned great words like "liberty" and
"democracy" into jingoistic mantras, or the fact that he so sullied the
word "freedom" that the people rebuilding the World Trade Center have
rejected the name Freedom Tower because it sounds too obnoxious.


I'm nostalgic for focused anger and healthy skepticism directed at the White House.