CSotD: Explanations, exhortations, exaltations

Michael Ramirez riffs on George C. Scott’s famous speech in the 1970 film, “Patton,” as Trump continues to deliver convoluted, contradictory explanations of his disastrous trade policy.

The (apocryphal) line from the film is “Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

This is an interesting parallel for a couple of reasons, but it is only fair to note that Patton, unlike Trump, was willing to take the same risks he demanded his men take, whether or not it happened very often.

You wouldn’t find Patton off playing golf while his men were fighting, or tossing paper towels to people who needed more than that.

But there is this: The movie portrayed Patton as a bully and as an erratic, boastful loose cannon, perhaps even a psychopath, and yet the impact of Scott’s performance was to turn Patton into a hero with people who hadn’t been sure quite who he was.

My father, who served in the European theater, was quite sure, noting that the men prefered Gen. Omar Bradley, played in the movie by Karl Malden as a sort of frustrated sea anchor to the mercurial, perhaps unbalanced Patton.

But for all the times Bradley had to try to draw him back from the brink, for all the times Eisenhower had to bust him and keep him away from the press and public, it was Patton who emerged a hero.

It’s a good parallel, with the only real difference being that, as Ramirez suggests, Patton won and Trump is losing badly.

Details, details. A big booming speech in front of the flag can make such pesky facts irrelevant.


And speaking of flags, and of oddities from past wars, Ted Rall has never been known for diplomatic politeness either, and here he says what a lot of people have been quietly thinking for some 40 years.

As America began the process of disengagement, and North Vietnam agreed to free the POWs in exchange for an end to hostilities, those who rejected reconciliation seized upon rumors of POWs being held in remote jungle slave camps.

All sorts of things are possible and there may have been a few individuals being held out in the hinterlands, but discipline was such that it’s hard to believe the vast bulk of prisoners would not have been turned over to the central authorities.

These unconfirmed rumors were augmented by the numbers of MIAs that exist in every war, and, in this case, included people known to have crashed their planes into the South China Sea or the mountains of Laos. An unrecovered body is technically “missing” even if its probable fate is known but unconfirmed.

Every war has plenty of MIAs. We’re still recovering remains from Korea and, if someone wanted to do some excavation, there are no doubt bones to be found in Europe from the last world war and the one before that.

But the POW flag went up and the problem now is how to gracefully take it down. Even the advocates who once touted rumors of jungle camps have modified their demands to insisting on the search for and the return of remains.

It’s hard to argue against that, but it’s also hard to argue in favor of making it a national priority.

It’s also hard to say what could be done to improve on what is being done.


Jen Sorensen takes on a less fraught controversy, or, at least, a controversy that should be less fraught.

Straws are an odd target, but easily singled out because they’re so unnecessary.

Except at drive-thrus, for the driver if not the passengers.

Though, if you hit a bump, your passengers will be wearing their drinks.

But, then, when did it become necessary to eat in the car? (Disclaimer: I do it all the time.)

So plastic straws are an excellent example of unnecessary use of plastic, and I’d really like to have someone document whether we used paper straws at the dawn of the drive-thru phenomenon.

I think if you jammed a paper straw —  at least, the ones we had years ago — through the vent of a plastic cup cover, it would split on the seams.

Though if you weren’t drinking in the car, you wouldn’t need a plastic cover for your drink, either.

A lot of the choices we make are tied into a web of lifestyle choices. For instance, the idea of reusable straws assumes that we have dishwashers, or teeny-tiny bottle brushes.

I haven’t seen a paper straw in several decades and I don’t know if someone has some old-school paper straw machines squirreled away somewhere that they can just unleash.

I think the breakthrough on this ecological crisis needs to involve three steps:

One is to bring back paper straws.

Two is for restaurants — and not just hipster places — to ask rather than automatically providing a straw.

Three is, as Sorensen suggests, for rightwingers to get over themselves.

However, I’m sure that, just as there was “proof” that disposable diapers are better for the environment than cloth ones, that someone will find a way to explain how plastic is so much better than paper.


Stork Alert

Looks like we’re getting a bit of a plot twist in Baby Blues.

That would be a good thing: The strip has gotten caught up in a cycle based on how much the two older kids despise each other and could use a reset.

And a fourth kid, just as Wren is starting to talk and become more independent, would be quite a reset in anyone’s family.

As it happens, comics curator Michael Rohde was just processing some old E&P comics columns, which included this April 1, 1995 brief:

Which makes Hammie 24 years old as of April 29:

If this were Gasoline Alley, he’d be the one whose wife was throwing up.

(And if the stork passes overhead without stopping, I will deny having written any of this.)

5 thoughts on “CSotD: Explanations, exhortations, exaltations

  1. https://www.aardvarkstraws.com/

    I think I recall a piece a couple of years ago on NPR featuring this firm.

    Note that there are folks with limited upper body mobility/strength who *need* flexible straws to drink, which suggests they ought to remain available for those who need them. “Owning the libs” is not a legally recognized need, although with the current Supreme Court one never knows.

  2. I have difficulty swallowing when my head is tilted up. (It’s not the condition Mark Jackson mentions, just a problem keeping the right tubes open or closed.) If I am served a can of soda without a straw, I can drink between a third and a half of it by lifting up the can. It’s better with a cup, but still has some issues.

    So yeah, I do like to see straws available!

  3. Is anyone in the fast food industry _really_ signing on to paper straws? As a card-carrying Fast Foodie–I partake waaay more than I should–I have yet to see any national chain make the switch-over. Even the more socially-conscious, if not politically-correct, companies haven’t made the switch.

    Nine times out of ten, I leave with some drink left, so a lid and straw is absolutely necessary. When I get home it goes straight to the recycling bin. So I ask again: Who actually is on board on the paper-over-plastic bandwagon? Or is this just another straw man–no pun intended–issue meant to divert us from more serious issues?

  4. We ate at a restaurant with paper straws last night.

    And, I actually bought a package of silicon straws for the car. I still have a few of them, but, unfortunately, have thrown away several with the cups. Old habits die hard.

  5. A number of places here in Arcata, CA sell a set that includes a steel straw, and little cleaning brush, and a little bag to carry them in. I bought my steel straw with little cleaning brush for something like $2 from a local coffee shop — I wonder if they are selling them at cost as a public service? Townsends Tea Shop in Eugene, Oregon had both thinner and thicker steel straws for sale.

    (There’s a place in town that sells a glass straw set, also.)

    I don’t know if anyone is selling a silicon bendable reusable straw set, yet, but it seems like that might be a feasible option for those who need bendability…?

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