We’ll start today’s roundup with a story from the world of sports, where Saudi Arabia is sponsoring a new golf league, and, as Steve Breen (Creators) puts it, showering money on golfers willing to sink into the public relations trap known as “sportswashing.”
It’s nothing new, nor is the explanation for playing along. It’s all well and good that Jesse Owens showed the prowess of Black athletes at Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games, but it’s reasonable to ask what the American team was doing there in the first place.
Here’s an explainer about this Saudi effort to improve their image, but we can cut to the sand trap part with a few quotes from it:
Mickelson, it turns out, is there as a sports reformer, bless his heart:
While 2010 Open Champion Graeme McDowell is determined not to let morality stand in the way of setting a good example:
Though there’s also the I’m-sure-irrelevant fact that the Saudis are making fabulously wealthy people even more fabulous. Dustin Johnson explained that he doesn’t want to play golf for the rest of his life, and now he won’t have to.
I generally defend athletes against accusations that they are overpaid, because they sell a lot of tickets, they sell massive TV rights and the teams and leagues make a bundle. In addition, players in football, baseball and basketball have a very brief shelf life at the top of a small, incredibly talented group before their bodies give out.
But, honestly, I think I could scrape by on $75 million if the alternative required selling my soul.
Juxtaposition of the Day #1
Gas has just hit $4.95 a gallon here, which is just about the national average. I understand California is higher and would assume from Bagley’s cartoon that Utah is also up there.
And while Davies is correct that people believe Biden controls everything, including gas prices, Bagley points out who is really benefiting.
It’s no big deal for me: Though retirement has decimated my income, it’s also reduced my mandatory mileage.
And I’m happy for those who can afford new electric cars, but I suspect they could also afford to fill the tank of a gas-powered Hyundai in a pinch.
But I can’t help thinking of a woman who was opening a pelletizing plant in Maine when I was an editor up there a decade ago, and told me she was getting applications from 60 miles away for jobs that didn’t really pay all that well. Even then, we talked about how low-level millhands were probably not driving the most efficient cars and wondering how they’d even cover the cost of getting to work, much less anything beyond that.
It’s an even better question now, innit?
Biden is taking the blame, which does not bode well for the midterms, and part of his efforts to lower prices is cooperation with the Saudis, who he will be visiting despite his earlier vow to make the country a pariah.
Politics make strange bedfellows, as they say, and we need increased oil production not only for ourselves but for a Europe cut off by Russia.
Which is why, I guess, we’re snuggling with the Saudis while we continue to boycott oil-rich Venezuela, pissing off our Western Hemisphere allies and throwing a wet blanket over the Summit of the Americas.
It’s just one damn Gordian knot after another and not a sword to be had.
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
An interesting juxtaposition here, though technically Rogers is criticizing Merrick Garland’s Justice Department while Bennett is commenting on the Jan 6 Committee, which are two different things.
But there is certainly an overall split between those impatient souls who feel Trump and his minions are getting away with an attempted coup and those more patient observers who are willing to get everything lined up so that they don’t.
I tend to come down on the side of those who’d rather see justice served late than a hasty effort that falls flat, and, like that GOP driver, I’m tracking the slow-motion chase, only I’m starting to smile a bit.
Meanwhile, Fox will not be airing the hearings that begin Thursday, and other Trump allies are spreading the word that they won’t be worth watching.
It reminds me of how Trump softened up his base before the 2020 elections by saying he could only lose if the results were fixed. If nobody is guilty, you’d think they’d welcome a full airing, but the GOP has refused to even participate in the investigation.
Now they don’t want anyone to hear what the committee has found.
Meanwhile, OJ pursues the real killer.
Juxtaposition of the Day #3
It’s always nice to see chaos unfolding somewhere else. It’s less a matter of schadenfreude than of relief to see that we aren’t the only people capable of ridiculously bad behavior.
Since Brexit, British cartoonists have been somewhat cocooned in their own political tangles, much of it impenetrable to an outside observer.
But while various economic proposals and speeches in Parliament may go over our heads, we all understand how drunken revelry at 10 Downing Street during the lockdown contrasted with the Queen having to bury her husband of nearly 74 years more or less alone.
Anyway, the guy with the funny hair — theirs, not ours — found himself facing a vote of no confidence which, to the surprise of all, he managed, as Schrank notes, to have squeaked through intact, if not exactly victorious.
My favorite part was that, when Johnson showed up at St. Paul’s for the big Jubilee kickoff, not only was he booed, as Banx notes, but his wife wore a hat that made it look like she was covering her face in a perp walk.
As well she might.
Juxtaposition of the Day #4
Okay, this one really is pure schadenfreude, as we watch the World’s Most Richest And Most Wonderfulest Genius flail over his plan to buy Twitter, in the course of which, as Anderson suggests, he has mostly succeeded in trashing the price of Tesla stock and making himself, as Wolterink puts it, look like a feckless, destructive dabbler rather than a dynamic, well-respected man about town.