Comic Strip of the Day: Caught in the Wake

I was up late enough last night to see the first wave of McCain obituary cartoons on Twitter and Facebook, and thought I might have to begin today’s posting with a blank frame and a disclaimer.

However, Pearls came through for me, albeit by happenstance.

I have no idea how Stephan Pastis feels about John McCain, but this feels like a wake for some elder uncle, and one where they really, really should not have served alcohol.

It has reduced some people to sentimental weeping and an endless recital of gloppy cliches, while it has loosened the tongues of some other people who might, if sober, realize that this is not the time to bring up the admittedly bad thing he shouldn’t have said at Thanksgiving dinner eighteen years ago.

We differed on a number of major issues: He was pro-life and, generally, a hawk, and he had opposed the MLK holiday.

But he cast the deciding vote to keep the ACA alive, in the face of party unity.

I’m prejudiced: The ACA saved my life. It can save others.

Still, I was dismayed when he abandoned his “maverick” approach in 2008 and fell into lockstep with the party. I might have believed he was planning to be an independent voice in the Oval Office if he hadn’t listened to the fools around him and chosen … that woman.

Can’t forget that either.

So he was not without flaws, but I think it was Shakespeare who wrote “A man may smile and smile and yet flake out in the end, and prove to be a real corker.”

McCain was a standup guy and I’d rather work with someone whose personal ethics place us at opposite ends than with people who have no ethics at all.

The opponent you can trust is preferable to the ally you cannot.

Peace. There have been very few obituary cartoons that ever mattered, but editors love’em and we’ve all got bills to pay. I get it.


But y’all better justify it with some wonderful work in the near future, on accounta this ship is sinking, as Morten Morland notes.

A little Aretha here, a little John McCain there, and then coffee break is over and back on your heads.


Meanwhile …

David Fitzsimmons notes the dilemma of voting in primaries, and, along with the demise of opponents with whom you could disagree on a decent level, we’re also losing the concept of “sending a message,” though perhaps I’ve just either grown up or grown cynical.

I didn’t want George McGovern to be president — I was a Muskie backer — but I voted for him, knowing he was going to get trounced but somehow thinking that, if he got a certain number of votes, Nixon would have to look at that and factor it in.

But McGovern really, really got trounced, so the only message was that forging the Canuck letter was a terrific idea.

Then I turned around and voted for John Anderson to send another message, and that message turned out to be that young, idealistic people are willing to flush their votes down the toilet on principle.

It’s a message people apparently have to learn one at a time, since being pragmatic seems like surrendering to old age and cynicism.

It’s empty speculation to suggest that, if everyone who was so gung-ho for Ralph Nader had put that energy into getting people to the polls, President Gore would not have invaded Iraq.

If you believe in “sending a message,” explain what message the opposition took to heart when both Al Gore and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but were barely squeezed out in the Electoral College.

Extra credit for showing how your third-party’s showing swayed the policies of the incoming administration.


Politics — the Office Kind

This On the Fastrack gives me the collywobbles, though it’s a reminder of one time when speaking up had an impact.

I worked at a paper where, as at most places, the longer you worked there, the more vacation you got.

How that worked in practice was that, when the vacation sheet for the next year went around in December, the senior employees were able to choose all five or six of their vacation weeks in a swoop.

By the time the sheet got to peasants with only two weeks vacation, there were no remaining slots where your kids might be out of school or when some tourist attraction might be offering good prices.

We raised a little hell and reformed it such that senior workers still got the sheet first, but could only pick two weeks before passing it on, then had to wait until it came around again.

We also got a new publisher who decided you shouldn’t have to work there seven years before earning that second week off.

Living just across the border from Quebec made vacation policies particularly painful.

Americans work too many hours, too many days, but we really got our noses rubbed in it.


When I was the boss at another paper, I put this Dilbert on the bulletin board to amuse people.

At least, that was my intention.


And today’s Retail made me laugh because one thing I’ve learned from the strip is to ask that question in a form that lets the employee off the hook.

Instead of “Can you look in the back and see if you have any more of these?” I say, “I’m assuming that, if you had more if these, they’d be on the shelf.”

There was a time when stores had real storerooms, but the introduction of “Just In Time Inventory” means that, if it isn’t on the shelf, you have to choose between getting it from them in two weeks or from Amazon in three days.

Though, honestly, that’s not always the case.

If it’s something seasonal, the local store may not be able to get it at all.

Don’t scream at Amber, though; she’s only the $7.25-an-hour messenger.

At a store which is open on Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Thank god for the resilience of youth:

5 thoughts on “Comic Strip of the Day: Caught in the Wake

  1. Clinton was barely squeezed out in the electoral vote? Really? 304 to 227 I think that’s a little more than squeezed out.

  2. Mark — In the states she lost, she didn’t lose by much. I’m not in the “kill the Electoral College” crowd, but I think awarding its votes proportionally would be preferable to winner-take-all.

  3. It would seem to me as an outsider that the problem is not that third party votes are wasted, but that the system operates as a two party one.

    Innovations such as proportional representation and multi member electorates would seem to be a better option than periodically working out which of two people you like least.

  4. Mike while I have no desire to rehash the election, just taking a quick glance at the spread it would depend on what the definition of close is. He won by more than 10% in most of the states he won.

    But like I said, that was just taking a very quick glance. I disagree about proportional distribution at the state level as it would defeat the very purpose of the electoral college.

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