CSotD: The Sunday News

We’ll give dissident cartoonist Badiucao the lead off on this discussion of the Chinese balloon, in part because he’s earned it, and in part because his use of Winnie the Pooh and a formidable American eagle presaged the outcome of this foolishness. (h/t to Cathy Wilcox)

We can forgive him the Disney red shirt, while, for those unfamiliar with classic Pooh, here’s EH Shepard’s sketch of the original, from an (alas) no longer current exhibit at the Fine Arts Museum in Boston, though you can still poke around in their promo for the show.

Note that Shepard was illustrating the moment when “The bees are getting suspicious.”

And Badiucao followed with a cartoon about what happened next, which likely profited China far less in intelligence gathering — the Americans reportedly were able to block much of the effort — than it cost in embarrassment, both over the cancellation of Secretary Blinken’s visit and the quick shootdown of the balloon once it was over the water.

Stellina Chen pointed out the embarrassment of Blinken’s withdrawal, though I’ve read that Xi had not made a big deal over the visit, so the shame may not echo throughout the mainland, though it is, no doubt, well known in Taiwan, where Chen is based.

And the venture did have solid propaganda value among those grateful to Xi for a chance to attack the Biden Administration.

Michael Ramirez (Creators) used it to accuse Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin of being stupid for not bringing it down where its large component of gear could kill civilians and damage property.

While Marjorie Taylor Greene made a stronger accusation after the balloon was safely destroyed, no doubt disappointed that it hadn’t been shot down sooner with our Jewish Space Lasers.

The predictable second-guessing of the anti-Biden brigade made me think of the saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” which is often misattributed, as it happens, to the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu but actually comes from the cinematic philosopher, Vito Corleone.

An area of inspiration to explore some other time.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Adam Zyglis)

(Greg Kearney)

Were we supposed to be fooled by Chinese explanations that it was a weather balloon gone astray?

There are certain niceties exchanged in diplomatic circles, out of politeness and not because anyone is expected to believe them. In this case, the explanation may pass the laugh test in Beijing but nobody can expect it to be accepted here.

The US had reportedly been quietly tracking the balloon and only went public when the general public spotted it. We don’t know when the American jamming began, or how many of these things have flown over in the past.

But you have to be incredibly naive not to recognize the number of ways in which nations keep track of each other. There’s no need to be paranoid about it, but it’s like drug seizures at the border: You only hear about the ones they catch.

Mostly when somebody does something really stupid, like flying a balloon where everybody can see it.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Michael de Adder)


(Ed Hall)

Hall was one of several commentators to point out the inconsistency of worrying about the Chinese balloon while using Tik Tok, which maintains separate management but is ultimately under the control of the Chinese government.

And Matt plays upon the afore-mentioned paranoia of people who think their appliances are beaming information back to Beijing, where the commies are obsessed with knowing how much mayonnaise you have.

But, while de Adder’s gibe is mostly aimed at sloppy caretaking, he’s certainly right that there’s plenty of information out there begging to be picked up and walked away with, though, again, your level of concern is likely dictated by your political loyalties.

We’re got people who don’t mind Chinese nationals wandering around Mar A Lago but are convinced that CCP members are breaking into a locked garage to rifle through boxes looking for random misfiled papers.

In other news

Brooke Bourgeois prefers to worry over the Netflix people finding out that you’ve been using someone else’s password to steal their programming.

The topic has come to the forefront because Netflix, which has long announced plans to cut down on this cyber-shoplifting, accidentally posted information making it seem the Day Had Come. Which it has not, though we’re not far from it.

You can add a bit of irony to the humor of the cartoon in that it appears in the New Yorker, which gives away a few cartoons each week but maintains a paywall for the bulk of its content.

Joy of Tech, which asks for financial support but has no paywall, takes a more creator-friendly view of the issue, while acknowledging the overwhelming attitude that content wants to be free, which — for some strange reason — is mostly held by those who consume content rather than by those who produce it.

Which brings to mind this Dorman Smith cartoon from the 1920s, when radio was transitioning from a playground for geeks to a serious communications enterprise. Britain decided the answer was imposing license fees on radio sets, while the Americans chose free broadcasting interrupted by commercials.

Nobody thought radio stations should just not pay their staffs or their electricity and equipment bills.

And then there’s this

Like Arlo, I’ve been puzzled by all the hoopla over Tom Brady, including the adoption of the term “goat,” which the Sporting News used to hang on whoever they judged had screwed up a World Series game.

However, why fight it? I’m willing to pretend that he and YA Tittle and Roger Staubach and Bart Starr all played under the same rules and he was the best.

But Dave Granlund picks up on a news story that’s been all over us here in New England, which is that Brady will sign a one-day contract so he can officially retire as a Patriot. That’s swell but it’s a very common move for retiring superstars who played out their final days with someone else.

It’s not news, and any sports fan has seen it many times before.

What we haven’t seen before is a superstar producing a movie in which women go nuts over him, but Joe Heller notes that Brady is closing out his career by producing just such a film.

The critics are not universally raving, though most are shrugging it off as a lightweight comedy in which four old friends go to the Super Bowl and zaniness ensues.

As zaniness did back when we were all younger, only the Fab Four didn’t have to pay Spielberg and Zemeckis.

5 thoughts on “CSotD: The Sunday News

  1. “We don’t know when the American jamming began, or how many of these things have flown over in the past.”

    But we do know that they have.


    “Spy Ballon”

    It was difficult for me to believe that the PRC would consider this an effective way to spy on the US, and easier to believe that they were balloons that had become blown off course from covering China when I realized both could be true.

  2. According to Heather Cox Richardson’s column, three ballon events happened when Trump was President and one before this during Biden’s. Marjorie Taylor Gfreene was on Homeland Security at the time and would have known this

  3. US and other amateur radio operators (Hams) have been launching scores of smaller balloons lately, and many have traversed China, Russia and numerous other countries.

  4. Rita Moreno is reason enough to watch 80 for Brady. As for the article on NFL players who retired after playing their end years with another team – the omission of Joe Namath makes the whole list suspect.

    1. Couldn’t find any record of Namath signing a one-day contract to retire as a Jet. They did retire his jersey number, but that’s a different matter.

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