CSotD: Looking For a Few Good Options

Ann Telnaes (WashPost) on GOP resistance to the hike in the minimum wage, now imperiled by a parliamentarian ruling that it can’t be shoved through in the form of a reconciliation proposal to skirt the so-called filibuster rule.

I say so-called because I remember the days when, if you wanted to stall a vote, you had to damn well stand up there and go full Mr. Smith on the gol dang thing.

Anybody who defends this 60-votes watered-down workaround had better never ever lecture anyone about “participation trophies.”

Telnaes nails the dialogue between fat cat protectors of the oligarchy and workers who simply want a fair exchange for their 40 hours. (Or their slightly-less-than-forty-hours, since a full-time schedule might require providing benefits.)

As for the cost, I put this together several years ago, but I haven’t seen anything happen since to make me go back and update the numbers.


Similarly, I haven’t verified the numbers cited in this criticism of Sen. Marshall’s argument, but I don’t think the specific figures matter: The point isn’t the precise cost of tuition at his alma mater when he went there, or the then-current minimum wage.

The point is that either he has no sense of how things have changed since he was young, or he is so firmly in the pocket of his major donors that he has no interest in representing his actual constituents.

Which leads us to the greater point — the one about the parliamentarian’s ruling — which is that we should not have to sneak this kind of legislation through.

If common decency won’t carry the day, we might at least consider the costs of poverty as a drag on the overall economy.

Historical Trivia: The quote “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country” is wrong. GM President Charles Wilson only offered the phrase in denying its truth as he was being confirmed as Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense.

Note, too, that he sold all his GM stock in order to be confirmed.

Another way in which times have changed.

Meanwhile, back at the border:

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Lalo Alcaraz – AMS)


(Kirk Walters – KFS)

What we have here is a case of “unfair and balanced,” given that Alcaraz is on the left and Walters is on the right but that, either way, the comparison between Trump’s cages and the re-opened migrant facility is strained if not bogus.

Start with the fact that the people being housed in this unit are not the little children portrayed in both cartoons, which might be dismissed as artistic license if the original “kids in cages” hadn’t often been extremely young.


Rather, the re-opened facility in question is for unaccompanied minors, or, as this (admittedly positively phrased) sign puts it, teenagers. And the sign does offer media and elected officers the opportunity to come have a look inside.

The young people there have arrived alone at the border, sometimes seeking to rejoin family already here, sometimes on their own. But they’re not toddlers and they’re not being separated from their parents.

I wouldn’t expect a cartoonist — right or left — to be able to travel down there for the sake of a day’s panel, but NPR took a closer look, as did the Washington Post (from which I swiped that sign), as did the Washington Times, as did the Wall Street Journal.

Which I would suggest is a pretty good balance of political viewpoints.

WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the re-opening of the facility at her Feb 25 press briefing, and said:

Understand: This whole thing about “unity” does not mean we should aim to always agree, but it does require that we approach issues with an open mind.

And it took me less than half an hour of due diligence on line to find those four disparate sources.

To which I would add that it’s certainly not just Alcaraz and Walters who are conflating Trump and Biden actions in the matter. They simply provided a left- and right-hand example.

Do better, folks.

Example: Later today, I’m going to look into whatever is happening in Syria. I criticized Trump for abandoning our Kurdish allies there, so I’ll admittedly be exploring the issue with an established POV.

Key word is “admittedly.” It’s okay to have a POV, as long as you know it and don’t allow your expectations to turn into blinders.


Quick Takes

I’m sorry to see Mike Marland retire from editorial cartooning, but now I’ll be watching his strip, RFD, for a little New England humor, since he’s keeping that weekly feature going.

When I was a kid, the local lake didn’t allow ice fishing; The ice had to be broken up enough to float a boat. So early in the spring of my junior year, I got our big aluminum canoe out and broke up enough ice to qualify.

I had only expected a few little perch, so I didn’t even bring the net down, which was too bad, because within moments, an enormous trout came up and took the bait, which meant I had to reach down and haul him out with my free hand.

Bad combination: A slimy fish and a class ring I’d only had a few weeks. By the time six weeks later that the water was warm enough to go have a look, it had long since sunk into the lake bed.

The ring, that is, not the fish. I ate the fish.

Well, I ate the ring, too, but only metaphorically.


Here’s a second personal take, caused by xkcd: I was thinking yesterday about how cautious bordering on paranoid people seem to be about the coronavirus, given how little it’s changed my life beyond masking to go to the store.

But then I realized I’m a single, retired writer who sits in front of a computer most of the day, whose social life is almost entirely virtual and whose outside activity consists of walking the dog in breezy, wide-open spaces.

My life has been a gradual preparation for the pandemic.