CSotD: A Nation of Bland Restatements

Suddenly, there’s a lot going on, so we’ll let Tom Tomorrow start us off with the equivalent of the five-minute NPR news wrap-up at the top of the hour before we dig into any details.

The bland-restatement format used in This Modern World and some other altie comics tends to fall flat in good times but springs to life amid chaos, because so many people are genuinely hiding their bad vibes and cruel intentions behind their own bland policy statements.

This being one of those latter moments.


On a micro level, impacting individuals, Marc Murphy comments on the death of Duante Wright, and when I Googled to get his name right, I found another story of a black man pulled over for an air freshener, though he was simply hassled and let go.

To be fair, Wright wasn’t apparently pulled over for the air freshener, though it came into issue. He was pulled over for having a new car with a temporary plate in the back window.

And shot to death, but that was an accident. They only meant to hassle him for felonious negritude.

I would assume that cops in Mpls/St Paul were under orders not to kill any black motorists until this other thing is wrapped up. Maybe not.

Long-haired guys like me got hassled by cops in the ’60s, pulled over for stupid minor things or confronted on the street, and it occasionally got violent, though I managed to skate through some ugly stuff untouched.

But once we got haircuts, it all ended.

My gut still tightens, half a century later, when I go through O’Hare and see that checkerboard band on a cop’s hat.

But my experience was only a tiny, temporary sample of what Black people go through on a daily basis.


Pedro X. Molina offers this piece, which begins as the story of one little boy but then expands into an explanation of the politics that brought about the situation.

You have to remember that, in addition to instituting a policy of deliberate cruelty at the border in order to frighten people into no longer coming, the Trump Administration also punished the home countries of those immigrants by withdrawing funds, which increased the fear and misery factor that drives desperate people to do desperate things.

Not that our previous policies in the region did much to solve those issues.


But, as Signe Wilkinson points out, it has left the Biden Administration holding the bag and, just as mistaking your pistol for a taser is a piss-poor excuse for shooting a driver, the fact that we don’t yet have adequate facilities for refugees is not much comfort for the people in them.

And telling people not to come yet is a nice but futile gesture. See Molina’s cartoon above.

The administration has become more open about what’s going on, but they’ve got to also become more adept at making it better, because not only is it not okay for the people involved, but it’s potentially a political albatross around the president’s neck.


Pat Bagley (Cagle) offers an optimistic view of the vaccine rollout, and it’s true that we’re suddenly making rapid progress on that front, though the Republicans claim Biden has simply cruised in on Trump’s coat tails.

Which is a yes-and-no position: We did begin efforts under Trump, but the combination of the Birx Apology Tour and revelations of purposeful fraud in the reporting under Trump make it hard to believe he was trying, or that several hundred thousand deaths are not due to the dishonesty of his administration.

Not that facts ever impact political wrangling, which brings us to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Phil Hands)


(Gary Markstein)

The situation seems to be one of “Do something – but not that!” with liberals saluting Biden as the new FDR, taking bold steps to bring us up to where we should be, while conservatives are reminding us that they hated FDR, too, and considered him a commie for his spendthrift ways, which Markstein notes by drawing Biden with repeated “spends.”


Matt Davies reminds us that spending pays off, that expensive projects pay for themselves over time, directly or by enabling other areas of economic growth, but we don’t study history here, nor do we look to the future.

(The GOP will scream over the associated economic benefits of hosting the All-Star Game, mind you, but otherwise can’t see beyond first base.)

Biden’s proposals would help with a variety of street-level problems, and you’d think we had adequate proof that you can’t solve those problems with trickle-down tax-cut efforts at the plutocrat level.

But you’d only think that if you hadn’t heard all the full-throated denial.

Though tax-and-spend is how sane governments behave, how budgets are balanced and how we grew in the “great” days MAGAts insist they want to return to, the knee-jerk conservative drumbeat against it continues.


And, as Mike Luckovich points out, the immediate barrier to moving forward is that the waffer-theen Democratic Senate majority is undermined by Joe Manchin’s deliberate obstruction, which is more stubborn and self-serving than that of Krysten Sinema, who can occasionally be talked into coming around.

Manchin takes obvious pride in his obstruction, and, while the solution is to capture a couple of more seats in 2022, if he succeeds in blocking progress, he’ll make the mid-term elections easier for the GOP to dominate.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Clay Bennett)


(Clay Jones)

The Clays unite on this one, with Bennett pointing out the pride a decent person should take in having a “vaccine passport” and Jones pointing out the toxic hypocrisy of GOP opposition to being able to prove you’ve had your shots.

Someone — I forget who — pointed out that nobody demanded proof of smallpox or TB vaccinations because they were so universal that it was assumed.

But we’ve not arrived there yet with the coronavirus, and, if public health remains a partisan issue, perhaps we never will.

Bennett’s expectation that people will embrace all those virtues being as naive as Phil Ochs’ hopes that he could get inherently selfish people to even look at the world beyond their own noses.

Still, we must keep trying.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: A Nation of Bland Restatements

  1. It was the Army medic who was pepper sprayed but not shot who was stopped for driving a new car with the temp plate in the back window that the police couldn’t see. I realize there are so many black men being terrorized and murdered by the police, it can be hard to keep them all straight.

  2. It can be confusing, but Daunte had the air freshener. The police say that’s not why they pulled him over, which might be a case of saying the silent part out loud.

    Yes, it was the other guy who was charged with driving a new car. Which is also against the law.

    Maybe if they slowed down the pace a little …

  3. I remember having to have yearly TB tests at the start of the school year – as a teacher. And most of us had small but obvious scars proving the smallpox vaccination. Passports are required to enter other countries (including Canada) aren’t they ?

  4. On smallpox vaccine scars, I think it was NPR yesterday with a story that mentioned that there were people back in the day who sold fake vaccine scars to the antivaccers of the time

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