There’s not a whole lot we can agree on these days, but Michael Ramirez (Creators) touches on one sacred principle: When the margins are tight, everybody counts, including people who, in better times, would be jettisoned.
The two situations are not identical: Dianne Feinstein is a long-serving, heroic figure, and it’s tragic that she can’t be talked into resigning, apparently in part because of the physical and mental decline that prompts calls for her to take the gold watch and go home. And, within a deadlocked Senate, the Democrats need her vote, whatever process lies behind it.
George Santos is a different case, since he’s apparently a conman and grifter who lied his way into Congress. He hasn’t been around long enough to build any coalitions and kicking him to the curb would look like an act of political integrity.
But that train has long left the station, and Kevin McCarthy hasn’t got enough votes to spare for gestures of integrity: It took 15 ballots for him to gain the speakership and he’s paying for the loyalty of the Freedom Caucus like a compulsive gambler in debt to the mob.
And so, as Ramirez depicts it, each party is hanging on by a fingertip, one in the Senate, one in the House. First one to sneeze loses the game.
Juxtaposition of the Day #1
A pair of very similar cartoons about the inability of Florida teachers to plan and teach their own curricula.
Now, if you haven’t been involved in education, that statement requires some explanation. States do have curriculum goals, some quite specific, others written in edubabble, but all putting some guardrails around the teaching in each grade level, at least in public schools.
But, while Luckovich is exaggerating, Florida has taken fairness and honesty out of the curriculum. Ron de Santis hasn’t specifically demanded that hatred be taught, but removing lessons on civil rights and racial history, while declaring LGBTQ+ kids not simply invisible but open to harassment, he might as well have mandated hatred.
As the song from South Pacific explains,
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
And Deering demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of the notion of “Parental Rights,” because, instead of having the citizens of a community elect a school board to make decisions for their school, the rightwing has invoked a policy where any aggrieved person — not necessarily a parent of a student, not necessarily a resident of the school district — can lodge a complaint, particularly against a book they find inappropriate.
Complaining parents are an old story: I remember nearly half a century ago when a parent objected to her child’s fourth grade reading “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” not because it was a deeply Christian parable about the redemption of the world through Christ’s sacrifice, but because it contained a witch, and witches are Satanic.
I don’t remember if her child was excused from the assignment, but the rest of the class read it.
But times change and now “parental control” has, for instance, caused the poem that Amanda Gorman wrote and recited at Biden’s inaugural pulled for elementary school shelves in Miami because of one parent who not only believes it teaches hate, but that it was written by Oprah Winfrey:
Deering also exaggerates in his cartoon, but not by as much as we might wish. The whole issue of parental control is well summed up by Mrs. Betty Bowers:
The other news — which might be good or bad — is that, as Kevin Siers notes, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) has announced his candidacy for something or other. It seems unlikely he’s serious about his chances of becoming president, and Siers is hardly the only observer who suspects he’s running for vice-president.
He might have a shot at that, since Nikki Haley has made some statements that put her at odds with Donald Trump, while Scott has stayed on the man’s positive side. And Trump could do worse that to add an African American to his ticket. Scott may be a political oddity — the only Black Republican senator — but Trump already has surprising appeal among voters of color.
And it might take some extraordinary events, but it’s awfully early in the game to write off Scott’s potential to start surprising the pundits. The Bulwark’s Jonathan Last says a Scott candidacy, and even a Scott presidency, might bring some sanity and balance back to the GOP:
He will need to clean up his fact-checking a bit, or maybe he won’t, given who he’s running against. In fact, in an attempt to wrest the nomination from Trump, his normalcy may be a bigger barrier than his race, and he’s not all that normal.
Juxtaposition of the Day — International Edition
Tough quiz: Guess which of these cartoonist is based in Austria and which one works for a Chinese publication?
Liu is probably correct in that the US is taking a leadership role in resisting Chinese commercial and political incursion, but Schopf is correct in seeing the potential menace as threatening the entire G-7 rather than being an American obsession.
Meanwhile, I suspect we have more to fear from cash registers than from nuclear missiles.
Juxtaposition of the Day #3
Two cartoons that share a common theme and a common misconception.
Montana has banned Tik Tok, but that’s a bit like banning dandelions. They’re gonna blow in anyway.
The state has not erected some magical electrical shield to keep Tik Tok rays from penetrating. It has simply made it illegal for anyone to sell the Tik Tok app, which, in these cases, means that, if your kids already have the app on their phones, they’ll be able to watch all the Tik Tok videos they want. There’s no law against having it on your phone, unless you work for the gummint.
So any kid who lives in Montana can pop across the state line and download the app, though there’s a lot of Montana where popping across the state line requires more than packing a lunch. They don’t call it the Big Sky Country for nothing.
But that big sky is full of tik toks. If the kids want them, they’ll find them.