CSotD: Just following executive orders

As noted before, David Rowe has the advantage of being 14 hours away from Washington, but this is a very well-finished, timely commentary anyway, so there’s no point, in this case, of my waiting for everyone else to catch up.

Details of the shooting didn’t emerge until late last night, but it was obvious at the moment that, whatever tragic event had unfolded outside, the President wasn’t in any particular danger and knew little more about it than the press corps did.

Which made multiple “What happened?” questions from the White House Concubines very much a waste of their access to the head of state, but what else is new?

I like Don Winslow’s plea for them to quit being so complacent, but, with the exception of a few pushy types, it’s like asking the dog to answer the phone.

It was pure happenstance that the tragedy outside the gates coincided with a press conference inside, but Rowe reminds us of other, more far-reaching tragedies on which the press hasn’t sufficiently pressed Dear Leader.

By the way, the fussbudget editors who come up with meaningless internal rules have long since declared that you’re supposed to call these events “news conferences” rather than “press conferences” because they exist to disseminate news, not simply to address the press.

But action, not re-labeling, is how you affect change. They should insist their reporters make sure those gatherings result in news and not just stenography.


And speaking of stenography


Let’s just assume we’re looking at one, long Juxtaposition of the Day, which I’m going to begin with Bob Gorrell‘s entry, which is open to misinterpretation: It could be a case of whataboutism, but it’s also a reminder of how the GOP went nuts over Obama’s use of executive orders, which, by the way, were the least-per-year of any president in the 20th century.


Lisa Benson, by contrast, pushes the whatabout factor in Democratic objections, ignoring how the GOP had responded to the phenomenon.

The contrast being that Gorrell makes more of a “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” point, which could justify Trump’s use of the tool but also acknowledges its history.


There’s a traffic jam on the other side of the spectrum, with cartoonists pointing out the legal and logical insufficiency of Dear Leader’s showboating.

I like Kevin Siers’ take because he bundled in both the economic and scientific overreaching as well as Trump’s failure to actually bring about meaningful actions and his smug appeal to the Deplorables.


Kal Kallaugher does much the same, but ups the ante by suggesting that Trump’s campaign advisors regard these meaningless executive orders as action.


The advisors who are, as we speak, no doubt finding ways to explain this one while continuing to maintain that Joe Biden has cognitive issues.

The question being whether re-election staffers get overtime.


And Mike Thompson isn’t the only one to accuse Trump of peddling snake oil, but I like the sign promising to fix everything, since it takes in a wide spectrum of empty promises with a very simple reminder of the harmful nostrum he peddled in the past.

It’s worth pointing out that the one of the kings of executive orders, Theodore Roosevelt, used them most famously to exploit a legal loophole, declaring wildlife refuges and national monuments, though he still had to fight with Congress to approve national parks.

Still, he managed to avoid extinction of birds for the fad of plumed hats, make archaeological looting of Mesa Verde and other cultural sites a crime, and halt plans to mine the Grand Canyon and build a railroad through Yellowstone.

Not only legally effective use of the tool, but use of it on the side of the environment.

Draw your own contrasts.


Changing over to deliberate foolishness

Also on the topic of Western lands, I got a kick out of this Greg Kearney cartoon because, after living out west for nearly two decades, I really did have to re-calibrate my mind to stop thinking “Bureau of Land Management” when I saw those initials.

Note that he didn’t drop this at the height of the George Floyd demonstrations but waited until he could make a joke without seeming to underplay the crisis.

Also note that he avoids misinterpretation by (A) making the farmer/rancher look clueless, not hostile, (B) framing it as an innocent question rather than a challenge and (C) showing an eye-roll and cloud of frustration to further indicate who is the fool in this panel.

Again, draw your own contrasts.

But I really did have to stop automatically reading those initials as “Bureau of Land Management,” long after I knew what they now stand for and was totally in sympathy.


And for another ridiculous personal response to a serious topic: Joel Pett‘s cartoon reminded me of driving back from Yellowstone in 1970 with three buddies and stopping for breakfast at a diner in Cody, Wyoming.

When we went to pay our bill, we saw a jackalope head mounted by the cash register and began to joke with the proprietor about it, with him spinning the appropriate tale tales and us laughing and pretending to believe him, until we suddenly realized that one of us was truly buying the whole thing.

At which point the rest of us dug in with the diner owner and wrung every last laugh out of it, then dogged the poor sap for 500 miles back to Boulder.


Finally today, the Buckets gave me pause because I’ve recently been seeing a 30-ish female panhandler on the roadside.

I give to the food bank and a local homeless charity, and I’m also aware that most panhandlers have issues that make it impossible for them to hold down a job, but she’s remarkably clear-eyed and well-groomed.

I don’t carry cash anymore, but I’ve been tempted to draw out a $20 at the ATM, and ask her to step over to the parking lot and tell me her story.

I guess old reporters never die, or even fade away a whole lot.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: Just following executive orders

  1. You have to be careful when fabricating those tall tales.
    I remember once telling a previous boss’s son and daughter at a job-related social event about the Law of Lateral Gravity — that, given enough time, any object placed on top of another object will eventually fall off.
    Days later, I overheard the boss’s wife insisting to someone else that Lateral Gravity was a real thing that her kids learned about in school.

  2. I got jackalope-suckered by my older brother and parents at a restaurant in the Allegheny National Forest – said restaurant also conveniently provided books of matches featuring the animal. I made quite the fool of myself with my classmates and teacher that following Monday. In my defense, I was 12-14 years younger than your buddy. Still, I always smile when I hear someone mention a jackalope.

  3. My sister and her then-husband visited us when we lived a half block from the Astrodome, and he asked about the longitudinal lines that went from the ground to the top, so I said that they could open it up in good weather, but usually didn’t because it blocked the doors. Instead of chuckling, he looked thoughtful, which I hadn’t expected, so I changed the subject. I hope he doesn’t still believe it.

  4. I totally agree with the interpretation of BLM. Especially since for years a neighbor and family friend who worked for the Bureau (part of living in Utah, where a higher ratio of land area is owned by the government than almost any other state). It took me at least a few days, maybe longer, to even connect the initials to Black Lives Matter, and it’s still not my first instinct a lot of the time.

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