Category Archives: Politics

Voter Lookup.

Tuesday, November 4 is the 2014 midterm elections. We believe in free speech here, and the greatest speech is getting out to vote. You can use the below tool to find your local polling place, who’s on the ballot, and even local initiatives.

We may be a partisan site, but in the end it’s important you get out there and do your civic duty in the end. This Tuesday, head to the polls, and be counted.

About these ads

Darth Vader for Ukraine Parliament

The Ukrainian Internet party’s Darth Vader addresses a party congress in KievThe Ukraine currently sits at the center of a potential flashpoint that could easily escalate into a global conflict. Darth Vader has stepped into the political arena in hopes to save his country, among other issues. Darth Alekseyevitch Vader (we’ve also seen it spelled Alekseyevich) is running as part of the Ukraine’s parliamentary elections as part of the Internet Party. Also running as part of the platform is Stepan Chewbacca.

Vader lives up the name, dressed in full costume, and a black campaign van which he calls “his helicopter.” He’s so hardcore he legally changed his name to Darth Vader. The electrician was previously known as Viktor Shevchenko.

Vader has a few goals:

  • Expel all deputies when he gets to parliament and computerize all government business
  • He’ll win the war against separatist rebels in the east, though also plans to withdraw government troops (we think he’ll use Sith or Bounty Hunters. No disintegrations!)
  • He will reclaim the Crimean Peninsula (see above on we guess he’ll achieve this)
  • Build a military space station to protect the Ukraine

Vader never shows his face, which prevented him from voting in May’s presidential elections. Election workers said he was violating voting rules.

Pollsters predict they they have little chance of getting into parliament.

And the announcement video from March:

Will Senator Patrick Leahy be in Batman v Superman?

patrick leahy dark knightThe President Pro Tempore (pro tem) of the United States Senate Senator Patrick Leahy (D – Vermont) is a long time fan of Batman becoming a fan at a young age. 50 year later the Senator can still quote from the comic books he grew up on. The Senator who has stood up for and fought for Hollywood when it comes to things like intellectual property protection has also appeared in numerous Batman films including standing up to Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Dark Knight. This conflict has raised some questions on Hollywood’s influence on the Senator.

But, with a new film around the corner starring the Dark Knight, will we see Senator Leahy in the film?

“It’s a fascinating movie. It will have superb actors in it,” Leahy told ABC News, stressing the word “superb,” in an interview posted Friday.

“My intuition says you’re in it, so we’ll leave it at that,” correspondent Jeff Zeleny replies to Leahy.

“We’ll leave it at that,” the lawmaker says with a grin.

 

When the film hits theaters next year keep an eye out for him. In between, we’ll see how many pieces of legislation the Senator pushes for his Hollywood friends.

(via The Hill)

The Battle Against ISIS with Comics

Suleiman Bakhit, speaking at the TEDGlobal 2011 TED Fellows Talks, Monday, July 11, 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: James Duncan Davidson / TED

Suleiman Bakhit, speaking at the TEDGlobal 2011 TED Fellows Talks, Monday, July 11, 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: James Duncan Davidson / TED

While bombs are being dropped, and bullets are flying in an attempt to stop Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), others are taking a more peaceful approach to shape the hearts and minds of those on the ground.

Suleiman Bakhit is a Jordanian social activist who thinks we can fight the terrorist organization with comics books. Bakhit thinks that narratives and myths are a key. Bakhit thinks that a toxic shame is a lot of what drives the violence.

In an interview with Wired.com UK, he explained:

Healthy shame is a source of learning, it lets you know boundaries. Toxic shame says you are unworthy as a human being, you are unworthy of human connection. This leads to violence in an attempt to replace that toxic shame with pride.

After Bakhit began publishing his own comics, he was attacked with a razor blade by extremists.

I had to cauterise my own wound with a piece of steel. But two good things came out of this. One, my dating life improved exponentially. And the second thing was that I realised that they were trying to mark me with shame, to transfer their own shame to me, and replace it with pride.

The idea of taking on the terrorists with comics came from asking kids who their heroes were. When first asked, they named people seen in extremist propaganda. Bakhit then gave out free comic books. Three months later, those extremists were replaced with comic book characters. The simple issue as he sees it, a huge need for positive role models and positive narratives. Fight extremist propaganda with a counter mythology filled with men and women, and most importantly make it positive and personal.

Bakhit ended his interview with this thought to ending the extremism.

The best way to accomplish this. The best technology we have to cultivate heroic motivation is this medium right here. The comic book.

New York Comic Con 2014: PETA and Bluewater Team Up Again

This week, as thousands flock to the city for New York Comic Con at the Javits Center, PETA and comic publisher Bluewater Productions will trot out a provocative comic ad urging the conventioneers to steer clear of the city’s controversial horse-drawn carriage rides. The poster, which will be plastered throughout Midtown this week, portrays a spooked horse colliding with a cab and sending panicked pedestrians flying—similar to the June incident in which a terrified horse broke free from his driver and plowed through Central Park into oncoming traffic.

Titled “STOMPED”—in parody of ads for the percussive musical STOMP—the poster features the distraught horse rearing up above a baby carriage as well as a comic book–style graphic that reads, “Carriage Horses Plus Traffic Equals Disaster!!!” This year alone, 13 children and infants were among the 40 people injured in carriage accidents around the country, including high-profile incidents in Manhattan.

The poster is designed by Michael Dorman and is the second time PETA and Bluewater have teamed up for an awareness campaign.

This fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio will officially announce his long-debated plans to unveil a bill retiring the horses.

PETAimage

Copyright vs. Creativity: Is Intellectual Property Reserved for the 1%?

Filmed at NYU School of Law on September 23, this panel asks whether copyright has lost one of its principle functions: to protect authors and original ideas. In the digital age, does copyright have a purpose beyond protecting corporations from illegal copying and file sharing? The panel featured:

  • Jörg Tittel, author of the recently released Ricky Rouse Has a Gun
  • Charles Brownstein, Executive Director, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
  • Christopher Sprigman, Professor of Law, Author of The Knockoff Economy
  • Barton Beebe, John M. Desmarais Professor of Intellectual Property Law

An interesting discussion and well worth watching for anyone in the comic industry.

The Hulk Dips Into Brazilian Politics

Mark Ruffalo, the actor who you might know as Bruce Banner/the Hulk in Marvel’s movies, is outspoken when it comes to politics and numerous issues he finds important. He’s been involved in numerous international issues, and forums. Recently he waded into Brazilian politics, endorsing a presidential candidate, Marina Silva, then reversed his position the next day.

“Marina Silva is probably one of the most interesting and exciting politicians on the world stage today,” he said in a YouTube video, endorsing the presidential candidate.

This endorsement (you can watch the video below) got legions of gay rights activists to urge Ruffalo to reconsider citing the candidates lack of support for gay marriage.

Ruffalo asked the candidate whose aide responded she was, linking to her campaign platform with pledges support for the gay community. Many activists pressed further doubting the actual support. This playing out on Twitter got Ruffalo’s name to trend in Brazil.

Ruffalo then backtracked:

It has come to my attention that the Brazilian Candidate for President, Marina Silva, may be against gay marriage… It is a little bit murky and unclear presently. I have to apologise for not doing a better job of vetting this decision.

…my support is null and void.

Silva is one of three leading candidates for the presidency in Sunday’s election.

(via BBC)

Broken legs, death threats and fatwas: the trials and tribulations of The 99

The-99-GroupThe below is reprinted with permission by Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, the creator of the series The 99. The series helps present modern, constructive roles for youth in the Arab world. It’s a shining example of positive engagement. The below discusses some of the attacks he has received due to his creations including a Fatwa, charges of heresy, and death threats. We stand and support Naif, condemning the threats, we ask you to join in and do so as well.

Many years ago, I was the volleyball counsellor at a summer camp in New England. It was 1990 and I was fit for five minutes. It seems there’s always an injury I can blame my (lack of) fitness on. That summer was no different.

Running into the lake, I slipped. My hands instinctively shielded my face from hitting the lake bottom and my elbows jerked back and got caught in the sand, sending my right shoulder out of its socket. I popped it back in. It was painful. I had to rest for a week before seeing a doctor. And then, on the way to the clinic, I had a terrible car accident that meant I completed my journey to the hospital in an ambulance. I’ve had my share of car accidents. Two of them were not my fault. This was one of those. It involved being shunted by a Mack truck while I was stationary at a traffic light.

At the hospital I was told that my shoulder had popped out again and that the boot of my car had been compressed to within inches of my head. I was lucky.

It was there I met an ambulance chaser, which was a first. I got his card. I got his pitch. I told him there and then not to bother: if the lorry driver who had written off my car had money, I reasoned, he would have had brakes too. I also told him I did not want to live my life by taking something away from someone else. I wanted to create rather than destroy. I did not want to be associated with a bottom feeder.

A few weeks later, a six-year-old boy sneaked up on me while I was brushing my teeth and said: “You don’t have a country … you don’t have a country …” A fellow counsellor who had roughly the same intellect as the young boy was hiding behind a tree. He had put the child up to it. It was surreal.

I called my father in Kuwait and he casually explained to me that Iraq’s invasion was a routine matter that would solve itself in a matter of days. It didn’t. The things fathers say.

Now, many years later, I have spent the summer recovering from another painful injury (giving me another excuse to explain away why I’m still not fit).

Last summer, as I was leaving my children’s summer camp in New England, I missed a step on an outdoor staircase and got my leg caught between a step and a tree root. I went in one direction and my leg in another. I broke my leg so badly my bones came out of my body for a breath of fresh air. My surgeon referred to my fracture as Humpty Dumpty. It took several surgeries and months of physical therapy to start to feel normal again.

While I recovered, another bottom feeder made his way into my life, this time forcefully. A man whose view of reality is narrow and violent, sued me for heresy and went around submitting false accusations to various institutions asking for a fatwa on my work with THE 99, a super-hero cartoon series I created based on the 99 attributes of God.

Sadly, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and the ministry of Islamic affairs in Kuwait did not do their homework and issued fatwas condemning THE 99 based on false accusations and misstatements provided by this ambulance chaser. This is after THE 99 had been broadcast daily for two years all over the world.

The United Nations, the World Economic Forum, world leaders including president Barack Obama, the emir of Kuwait and many others endorsed my work for bridging cultures and tolerance.

In fact, THE 99 has been approved by the ministries of information in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and was funded by a Saudi Islamic Investment Bank with its own Sharia board.

This accusation opened up a Pandora’s box and led to an avalanche of extremists each trying to outdo one another. It led to fatwas and more recently death threats from Twitter accounts linked to ISIL and Al Qaeda.

You can imagine the call I had with my parents and my children when the front page of Kuwait’s leading daily newspaper quoted various death threats. Look on the bright side I told my parents. This shows the impact of THE 99.

My son, who is a summer camp counsellor this year, called me in a state of panic. His friends told him I was dead or that I was going to jail. I tried to allay his fears by telling him it was routine. The things fathers say.

But that is not the end of the story. The early 1990s witnessed Disney releasing their smash hit Aladdin. The opening lyrics of the song entitled Arabian Nights were: “Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place, where the caravan camels roam, where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.”

Having released it on the heels of Desert Storm, Disney thought they could get away with the lyrics. They couldn’t. Protests led to changing the lyrics on the video and DVD versions. I was among the protesters.

Last week I took my children to watch Aladdin the Musical on Broadway. And as I sat in the audience I couldn’t help wonder should those lyrics have been changed? Should I have protested against them? Isn’t someone trying to cut off my head because they don’t like the way I think?

As I write this I am considering going to Kuwait to answer charges of heresy. The ministry of information has turned a number of production companies over to the public prosecutor for violating the audio-visual media law.

May God bless Kuwait and may the forces of darkness not muffle innovation and creativity. And may the ministries start to understand that in the name of protecting our culture they are responsible for killing it by scaring off the content creators and the content investors.

Why would anyone invest in media content if the producers can be sent off to the public prosecutor’s office and potentially serve jail time. Isn’t it just easier to keep dubbing Turkish, Mexican and American dramas?

And if we keep doing that, aren’t we diluting our culture? And if we do, then whose fault is that? Perhaps the ministries were not set up to protect our culture after all.

_______
Naif Al-Mutawa is a Kuwait-born, U.S. educated psychologist who created “THE 99,” a comic book about a group of superheroes based on Islamic archetypes. See http://www.al-mutawa.com/

Eco Comics Reveals the Scotsman in Time for the Scottish Independence Vote

SCOTSMANIn anticipation of Scotland’s historic independence referendum today which will decide if Scotland becomes an independent country, publisher Eco Comics has unveiled a new super hero character, Scotsman.

The publisher has yet to reveal whether the Scottish hero will star in his own comic book or appear in its recently launched series, Englishman.

Whether Scotsman will be an ally or enemy of Englishman has also yet to be determined.

When it comes to the big vote today as far as Scottish independence, the publisher said:

Is Scotsman on the Yes or No side of the referendum? No to independence will certainly make him an ally of Englishman, but will Yes result in him being ally or enemy?

The character will embody Scotland, and that extends to the surrounding cast. Many Scottish legends will appear, and so far the publisher has revealed early concept art for Robert the Bruce.

SCOTSMAN 1 SCOTSMAN 2 ROBERT THE BRUCE

Dragon Con 2014: U.S. Rep John Lewis and Andrew Aydin Discuss March

Congressman John Lewis was joined by his co-author Andrew Aydin to discuss their graphic novel March at this year’s Dragon Con. We’ve got audio of the panel which was moderated by Tom Heintjes, publisher of Hogan’s Alley magazine.

(via Cartoonician)

« Older Entries