The new link on the side to Comics Curmudgeon is interesting to me for several reasons. It's a good, funny weblog. Had Josh's site not existed, I would now be doing a comics blog (specializing, probably, in recent, alternative and also online comics, but including representative samples of the dying newspaper breed) instead of this "right-wing infection of science fiction" blog. One reason I would is because I miss The Funny Paper from the Baltimore City Paper by Scacca and MacLeod. Josh Fruhlinger is a worthy successor: he lives in Baltimore and reads the comics faithfully, and has a similarly snarky tone to Scacca and MacLeod, who've both moved on to bigger things. For my money, they were funnier than Josh, but given that there were two of them, being paid to do the column, not more than twice as funny. But that's not faint praise for Comics Curmudgeon. The Funny Paper was often my favorite column - I've gotten grown up enough that very little really makes me laugh and Scacca and Macleod usually delivered.
Very rarely do I completely disagree with "Ruben Bolling" of "Tom the Dancing Bug," but I did when he downplayed the importance of the Taliban bombing the millennia-old Buddhist mountain carvings in Afghanistan. Yes, the treatment of women under the Taliban was reprehensible, but that demolition was the destruction of symbols of tolerance and respect for a variety of traditions in Afghanistan, and a declaration of war on anything not conforming to the Talibs. Symbolic things like that, including flags and mosques/shrines, have importance beyond themselves as repositories for people's beliefs that they can act out of motives besides venality. In light of that, I think the unpresident almost got it right when he said destroying the shrine showed the bombers to be the enemies of everyone in Iraq. That's the kind of thing that builds for the future. 20 years from now we'll still be thanking the bombers for ethnic violence in and around Iraq, quite possibly.
Some people can only express their gratitude for the democracy and freedom of America by flag veneration, and that's why the rest of us have to at least show a modicum of respect for that fact. What the bombers did was like burning the original editions of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and melting the Liberty Bell (as well as, and I'm not forgetting it, killing several people that day). This is unlike assassinating government leaders or killing American GIs, both of which are legitimate military activities.
If I had had my way the American aggression in Iraq would have been a miserable failure, but without building for future, perhaps endless, ethnic/religious strife. I got the first part of my wish.
By the way, only a complete moral idiot would have wanted "America to win in Iraq." Even a child could tell you that would only lead to further fascist repression domestically as Wussolini beat his chest over his triumphs, then to aggression against Syria and Iran and probably a dozen other countries until ALL the troops were used up and the rest of the world was scrambling for ways to make the United States pay for its blindness, ways which it would locate fairly rapidly.
I haven't forgotten James Hogan's Kicking the Sacred Cow - i'll do a quick survey of why I think it's unfortunate and wrong. Then I can move to the economic stuff that's more central to my weblog. Then, finally, once I've established a few examples, principles, even utility posts, I can get back to what I normally do, which is introduce humor into these, so far, dark and fairly strident broadsides.