CSotD: Corruption and foolishness

We’ll let Bill Bramhall (NYDN) start us off with a ray of hope. Merrick Garland has a lot of clean up to do, but he’s not pretending otherwise, having made clear that he is in office to be Attorney General and not the president’s personal attorney.

The fact that he was confirmed by a 70-30 vote would have been cause for concern a few administrations ago, but it’s an extra boost of good news today.

Let’s hope he gets the tarnish off that seal, and that Antony Blinken has as much luck cleaning up the debris left in the State Department.

Geez. To think we used to fret over pranksters from the previous administration stealing the “W”s from keyboards.


It doesn’t help when cartoonists repeat the distortions of Trump loyalists (lookin’ at Kirk Walters, KFS, though he’s hardly alone).

Come on: The facts are right there. Even the now-irrelevant, distortable ones.

Small children are not being separated from their parents, and the unaccompanied teenagers who are being detained on their own are not being kept in the fenced warehouses of the Trump administration.

Moreover, you can’t argue that the refugees are spreading covid while you simultaneously attack Biden for requiring them to stay in those dormitories for testing and quarantine.

Well, obviously, you can. But you know what I mean.

Consider this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Paul Fell)


(Matt Wuerker – Politico)

This pair of cartoons both note the deliberate irrelevance of the rightwing whining over the business decisions of Seuss Enterprises and Hasbro toys, doubly bizarre since they’re normally in favor of letting private industry do whatever the hell it wants.

But, while Wuerker accuses them of playing around with these phony, staged outrages instead of helping in a crisis, Fell makes a more pointed accusation, that the distraction is intended to keep us from noticing the anti-voter moves they’re also making.

They’re both right, of course, though at least the relief package managed to get through despite the lack of GOP support.

The voting rights issues are more troubling, which brings us to this

Juxtaposition of Time


(Bill Mauldin)

(Paul Berge)

I used to feature Mauldin’s classic in my presentations to kids on political cartooning, because of the words “I’ve decided.”

The Civil Rights Act was long delayed in coming, and, I’d point out, if you look at that crow and at the eagle, it’s plain that the pathetic crow couldn’t possibly maintain his position of prominence if the eagle weren’t allowing it.

Mauldin’s message then, being less “Hooray!” than “It’s about time.”

Well, as Berge suggests, the GOP around the country has decided it’s about time to put Jim Crow back in charge.

I think it’s kind of silly to riff on the Mona Lisa and put “apologies to Da Vinci” in the margin, but it was the right decision for Berge to tip his hat to Mauldin, just as, with the cartoon featured here Friday, it was good for David Rowe to acknowledge W.A. Rogers.

It’s both a “Go find, and contemplate, the original” invite as well as “I’m copying him on purpose” explanation. I saw another cartoon of Jim Crow on the flag pole that didn’t cite the original, and it does leave questions.

Berge discusses both cartoons in his blog, which is always a good stop anyway.


And back to the topic of rightwing distractions, Clay Jones points out how very badly Tucker Carlson’s attempt to amuse us with an attack on women in the service has gone.

His essay is a bit over the top, but why not? Carlson has managed to bring down a raft of condemnations for his moronic take, and, amidst his anger, Jones makes some good points, such as the obvious-to-everyone-but-Tucker fact that those maternity uniforms had to have been designed and created under Trump, not Biden.

But Tucker’s basic mistake is that he is a model of a prissy, privileged prep school dweeb who never enlisted and should perhaps STFU about anyone, male or female, who did.

As this fellow explains, from a slightly more gritty platform than Tucker.


On a lighter note

Wit all doo respeck, today’s Zits (KFS) made me wonder how many, or whether any, states in the union still issue paper drivers’ licenses. (I just realized it’s a rerun, but they weren’t issuing paper licenses in 2017, either.)

Every license I’ve had in the past … I dunno … 30 years? is encased in plastic and would go through the laundry just fine.

Though it’s only recently that they made me take off my glasses so they could photograph my irises or something nefarious. Which is okay now because I take off my glasses all the time to prevent them from fogging up, so now that is what I look like.

When I get my second shot Thursday, I can take off the mask and put on my glasses again, but by then they’ll be able to track me through my Bill Gates chip. (Note: I’m kidding.)

In any case, as I was remembering my last paper driver’s license, it reminded me of when I moved from Colorado to New York in 1987 and discovered that their driver’s license numbers had a letter followed by 18 digits. (Note: I’m not kidding.)

Naturally, the people who already lived there thought it was perfectly normal, but it led to one of my first articles in my new job, so I went back and dug it up.

I still think it’s pretty funny. And, yeah, that was my number.




(Postscript: A few years later, NY scrapped the paper licenses with the long numbers and began issuing plastic licenses with sensible numbers. Then it turned out the owner of the company that made them was the wife of a state official — I forget who — who was responsible for ordering them. Which is the sort of thing that explains why nothing Andrew Cuomo does surprises New Yorkers.)

3 thoughts on “CSotD: Corruption and foolishness

  1. The ISBN system, in its original 10-digit form, was rather brilliant. The numbers had something like four fields, which could be marked with hyphen separators when printed but didn’t have to be. These were for something like: geographic / language area; publisher code; the publisher’s catalog or serial number for the book; and a check digit. (Because the check digit was done in base 11, the symbol X is used for a checksum of ten.)

    BUT these weren’t all fixed length fields! The actual value (and field width) of an earlier field can set the width of a subsequent field. So a big publisher will have a shorter number and more digits in the publication serial number field to accommodate its larger catalog.

  2. Jeremy will be embarrassed to have it pointed out that in some places temporary licenses (AKA Learners Permits) are still paper.

  3. Ohio, where Borgman (and, by all evidence, Jeremy and family) lives, now issues a temporary license straight out of the inkjet printer at your local DMV, which one keeps for a week or so until the plastic-encased license or State ID arrives in the mail.

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