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CSotD: All Politics Are Local

Ann Telnaes puts a fun spin on the hoo-hah over the latest royal baby with a cartoon about a baby who is not only American but has a lot more authority than little Goober, who is, I guess, seventh in line to the British throne, ever will.

Harry and Meghan haven’t announced the name, and so bookies are taking bets on it. “Goober” is a longshot, but one never knows.

We also don’t have a name for the Barr-McConnell heir, because there’s a tradition in the current White House not to reveal anything at all. But Telnaes provides a little clue and we’ll see the rest of the baby when it’s too late to do anything about it.

 

Unless our stewards in Congress step up.

Trump commented on the outcome of the Kentucky Derby before Joel Pett had a chance to weigh in, and plenty of people on social media got a kick out of Trump’s pissy dismissal of the stewards’ decision.

It does take chutzpah for the candidate who finished second but was awarded the prize on a technicality to question the outcome of the Derby.

But the parallel Pett cites is more relevant.

As the stewards were watching the replays over and over, one remark a commentator made was that the foul, such as it was, would result in a disqualification if it were a lesser race than the Derby.

The question wasn’t whether it was a foul.

The question was whether they would hold the winner of the Kentucky Derby to the standards that would apply to other horses.

The stewards eventually decided that you can, indeed, charge a Derby winner with obstruction.

Which is only fair.

 

Meanwhile, back at the hospital

Pat Bagley summons up a Bond villain to describe the current status of health care, though (picky picky) it’s actually Stromberg, not Blofeld, who cranked back the floor to drop people into a shark tank.

However, the principle is what matters and the main barrier to Universal Health Care in this country is the existence of a massive private insurance industry and a for-profit health care system.

Part of it is evil greed, but part of it is simply that the system exists at all. Other countries have more stripped-down health care systems and there’s an awful lot of toothpaste we’d have to jam back into the tube to bring ourselves to that point.

We did tear apart the railroads and a lot of public transit when we decided everyone should get around by private car. And switching to cars didn’t just destroy trains and streetcars but led to large, centrally located malls and supermarkets in place of neighborhood stores.

Reform is a game of Jenga that calls for a delicate touch, but perhaps also for a willingness to risk things falling apart.

I have only rarely run into the situation of being denied care, mostly in that they’d rather pay for a heart attack than a stress test, or bowel cancer rather than a colonoscopy.

As it happens, I’m currently reading Linda Tirado’s “Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America,” a brilliant and furiously funny explanation of what it’s like to be poor, day-to-day and crisis-to-crisis.

Her observations on health care remind me of when I had no coverage.

Not only do you just let yourself be sick and hope it straightens out, not only do you ignore obvious problems and let them get worse, but you have absolutely no ongoing relationship with experts you can talk to.

Which comes to mind because of my later having had, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a relationship with a doctor to whom I could remark, “by the way …” and describe what seemed like no big deal but was the symptom that led to a cancer diagnosis and saved my life.

And, before the ACA was passed, I watched a friend with no coverage and no money go from pillar to post, never having the same doctor twice, so that her aches and pains lasted for years until someone finally recognized Lyme — well after it could have been easily treated.

Now the Republicans want to get rid of the ACA.

Excuse me if I take that personally.

 

And speaking of taking it personally …

DD Degg has noted the changes as Lee Enterprises unifies the comics pages (and probably other coverage) in Kenosha and Racine, based on a “survey” which was simply input from readers who responded to in-paper requests.

These fake “surveys” only reach current customers, not potential new readers, and invariably skew old because younger readers head off to work or to school and forget to fill out the form later on.

I know this because I re-did a comics page with very few complaints when it was over. You can read how I did it here.

But this particular situation shows a problem with local papers, of which their ham-handed treatment of comics is only a symptom: There are very few local papers anymore.  Chain papers are not local.

The current editor of the Kenosha News has been there a year, which means he wasn’t around to see (above) people coming to Kenosha for the cartooning festivals that Anne and John Hambrock ran, and may not even know the Hambrocks live there.

So their strip, The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee, has been dropped by the chain paper in Kenosha.

I feel bad for them, but they shouldn’t take it personally.

Frank’s is a local restaurant. McDonald’s is not.

And the Kenosha News is a corporate clone, like McDonald’s, not local, like Frank’s.

I’ve worked for the same chain and I’ve seen them squelch local marketing initiatives that were working and impose chainwide one-size-fits-all ideas that didn’t.

I’ve also worked for local papers, and their success is based on a type of institutional loyalty that requires a publisher/owner with roots, and a heart, in the community.

It’s reflected in content, but it’s also reflected in advertising and promotion, because local businesses support each other. That’s the only way it has ever worked.

Loyalty matters, and you can’t fake it.

 

Community Comments

#1 Paul Berge
May/7/2019
@ 10:47 am

Interesting to learn that Stromberg was supposed to have been Blofeld, but Broccoli couldn’t get the rights to him.

I think I have to miss the Kenosha festival this year, but I hope someone makes sure the News sends a reporter who will have to mention that the hometown cartoonists aren’t in the hometown paper any more. Perhaps an editor will read it.

#2 Mike Peterson
May/7/2019
@ 3:42 pm

I wish Anne would do another festival, but it’s a lot of work and there hasn’t been one since ’16. I’d come back. Hell, I’d move back. Kenosha rocks.

#3 mark johnson
May/7/2019
@ 9:07 pm

How sad my local paper, the Kenosha News, would drop the excellent strip Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee. I rank this work in the top three in our paper, consistently This is a headscratcher when you also add in the fact that the author is a local.
I am calling the paper tomorrow which will make no difference to them but, I’ll feel better

#4 mark johnson
May/8/2019
@ 9:55 am

I contacted the Kenosha News today to complain about the removal of Edison Lee and was told they are bringing it back perhaps as soon as tomorrow.
They had 2000 responses to a survey, a fraction of subscribers to be sure. I was probably not the only one to complain . I don’t carry that kind of weight

#5 Mike Peterson
May/8/2019
@ 10:38 am

That doesn’t address the whole issue but it’s good news to know they’re responsive to local concerns!

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