Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I am listening to President Bush's morning speech.

It is the same old shit. Word for word, much of it.

Can this be true...?

First off, CCS (Center for Cartoon Studies, natch) final project presentations were amazing and enlightening -- and long. As I'd expected, we'll be picking up with presentations the beginning of next semester in January. Still, it was a great afternoon, and I'm happy to say I learned a great deal on everything from Swedish comics and Jack T. Chick tracts to the Marvel 2099 series, which I'd pretty much ignored when it came out in the 1990s (I haven't seen the light, but I now know I'll be including at least two of the titles in the series in my revised text for We Are Going to Eat You!!).

Still, there just warn't enough hours in the afternoon to cram in any more than we did.

Maybe now a few students understand not only how much work goes into lectures -- but also into keeping the time frame tight and in place!

Speaking of which, I'm prepping my Friday lecture(s) on graphic novels for the students of Mt. Anthony High School in Bennington, VT, an event Michelle Ollie at CCS suggested I take on. So, I proudly go representing CCS and all of comicdom!

With the rise in interest in graphic novels and comics at all age levels, and the fact that schools are now eager to place comics and graphic novels into students's hand (instead of yanking 'em away as they did in my childhood), I see it as my task to (a) open the students's eyes to what waits for them while (b) not boring them shitless and turning them off graphic novels before they're fully turned on. I'll be delivering the same talk three times that day, so it's also vital to make sure session #3 is as lively as session #1. Wish me luck!

G. Michael Dobbs, former editor of Animato magazine and editor/publisher of the short-lived but beloved Animation Planet magazine, newspaper editor and dear friend launched his own blog a week or so ago. Mike covers a wide variety of topics and interests there, beyond his ongoing animation studies and reflections.

Today, Mike is excerpting his interview with one of my all-time favorite filmmakers Joe Dante on his sadly underrated (and inexplicably buried by Warner) Looney Tunes movie; earlier this month, Mike covered everything from Spirit Warriors (a proposed animation series being created by a Western New England College junior) to Massachusetts radio show host and Pastor Tom Crouse's first Mr. Heterosexual Contest (shades of Tom Cruise in Magnolia)! It's part of my daily routine checking out what Mike's got to say, so tune in early and often.

Check it out ASAP at
  • Out of the Inkwell.
  • See you there!

    "Let's get in line, kids," takes on new meaning in our increasingly paranoid and Orwellian school systems, post-Columbine and post-9/11. The term 'tag' is no longer just about graffiti, either, for our up and coming generation of teens.

    This compliments of HomeyM (for the forward) and journalist Catherine Komp at Alternative Press Review:


    ...As debate over government surveillance rages in adult society, the US Department of Justice is quietly enticing school districts to implement controversial technologies that monitor and track students. Critics fear these efforts will normalize electronic surveillance at an early age, conditioning young people to accept privacy violations while creating a market for companies that develop and sell surveillance systems.

    A few of the nation's schools are already running pilot programs to monitor students' movements using radio frequency identification. The highly controversial programs, implemented in the name of student protection, see pupils wearing tags around their necks and submitting themselves to electronic scanning as they enter and leave school property. Now, a new federal grant could lure more districts into using these or similar technologies.

    Even though school violence is at its lowest rate in a decade, according to the federal government's own statistics, the Justice Department's "School Safety Technologies" grants will be distributed to schools that develop proposals in four broadly defined areas: integrated physical security systems, bus-fleet monitoring systems, low-level force devices and school safety training.

    In its call for the grant proposals, the National Institute of Justice, an arm of the Justice Department, says the money will be distributed to schools proposing "effective technology solutions to protect the students, teachers, school personnel, and the educational infrastructure from criminal activities, particularly crimes of
    violence.". . .

    Such technologies have already been implemented in some school districts. North of Houston, Texas, 16,000 elementary students in the Spring Independent School District wear RFID tags, embedded with chips that indicate their locations on a computerized map. The school also has 750 surveillance cameras mounted throughout its facilities, with plans to install 300 more.

    In New York, RFID systems are also being used in schools. The Brockport Central School District in northern New York is testing school bus fleet monitoring with GPS technology and scanning students IDs as they enter and exit the bus. Students at the Enterprise Charter School in Buffalo wave their RFID tags in front of two kiosks at the school entrance which automatically transmit attendance to teachers and administrators. . .

    Lee Tien, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a public-interest organization, believes the increasing use of RFID technology in schools could affect how the public views surveillance. "It creates an atmosphere where you normalize the use of surveillance technology... [and] the idea that you should accept that you are being tracked," said Tien.

    It's all here at
  • tag them two-legged heifers!

  • __

    Posted here without comment, other than to say: Can this be true?

    Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'

    Capital Hill Blue/DOUG THOMPSON | December 9 2005

    Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

    Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

    GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

    'I don't give a goddamn,' Bush retorted. 'I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.' 'Mr. President,' one aide in the meeting said. 'There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.'

    'Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,' Bush screamed back. 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper!'

    I've talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution 'a goddamned piece of paper.'"

  • here.

  • Via other online sources, confirm or deny, anyone? I'm curious... place links if you're responding, I'd love to know if this has any validity.

    Wouldn't you?