CSotD: While we wait for the auditors

As expected, I’m seeing a lot of SVB cartoons, some of which are entirely off target, some of which are blaming deregulation, which is a likely but not yet proven cause, a couple of which celebrate panicked withdrawals and too many of which predict a general collapse of all banks and the economy.

So here’s a meme instead of a cartoon, because FDR said those famous words in his first inaugural address as he took the reins in the midst of the Great Depression. I can’t help but think that if Herbert Hoover had said them back in 1929, and if people had listened, things might have gone differently.

At the moment, what we need least is unreasoning, unjustified panic. I’m glad I’m not working in social media, Meta/Facebook having laid off 24% of its workers in the past half year, for instance, but if I did, the intelligent response would be to (calmly) keep my options open and my head on a swivel.

While we wait to see what happens next, I’d recommend you head for Marketplace to get an intelligent, non-panicked look at what happened and what we know so far. Kai Ryssdal and gang seem to have a good grip on things and explain them in ways you don’t have to be an economist to understand.

And there’s other stuff going on. For instance:

President Biden has announced approval of a Conoco Philips project to drill on Alaska’s North Slope, in absolute contradiction to his promise not to. As Walt Handelsman notes, there’s no way around the contradiction, and green groups are furious with the reversal.

But perhaps the error was in being so dogmatic in his promise. The original plan, approved by the Trump administration, was far wider and offered less oversight and constraints than the modified plan Biden’s Interior Department has approved.

Pure partisans won’t want to hear from a Republican on the matter, nor will absolutists in the anti-drilling sector, but Murkowski is not a hardliner and she’s got a point.

Joe Sacco’s brilliant “Paying the Land” did a good job of outlining the conflict Dene people have had in the development of the Athabaskan tar sands.

In this case, we’re talking about the Iñupiat, an Inuit people culturally and ethnically distinct from the Dene, but whose dilemma is the same, and, as Murkowski says, they are real people, not props.

If we southern types can get our heads around the fact that they use snowmobiles more often than dogsleds and hunt with rifles more often than spears, we should be able to understand that they have been undergoing the same conflict Sacco found among the Dene, between maintaining their culture and feeding themselves.

Barney & Clyde (WPWG) continues its story arc in which Cynthia tries to read to a primary group but finds most of the books have been taken off their library shelves.

This episode reflects the “Forbidden Fruit” aspect, a hope more than a theory, that banning books makes kids more eager to read them. The punchline is a parallel to Bradbury’s novel, in which people memorize books before they can all be burned.

Today’s strip builds on the concept, in which young readers find backdoor sources for the books that are no longer permitted to be in their school libraries.

It’s a lovely idea, but it assumes an appetite that those school libraries are supposed to instill, and, as they are destroyed, most kids who actively seek more diverse reading will be those who already read, and are read to, at home.

Grand Avenue (AMS) unintentionally brings up the digital divide, because kids with computer access — and books — at home have a decided advantage over others. And public libraries are under some of the same pressure as school libraries, making them less of an option than they ought to be.

Plus this: When I was a kid, we had either the school library or the public library 60 miles away in Watertown. When I was writing an essay about the Civil Rights movement, I had to put in a special request for a copy of Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, and I had to drive into Watertown to find a copy of Ulysses for my senior paper on Joyce.

I did well to even know that “American Dilemma” existed and, frankly, if I’d pulled it off the shelf, I’d have put it right back, because it turned out to be far more dense than anything a high school sophomore could parse.

That’s why the books have to be right there: Much of what I read as a student were things I blundered across in the school library, reading the title then opening them for a look before making a choice.

Jodi Picoult has written an absolutely brilliant piece on the topic. Picoult writes what is dismissed as chick-lit, which makes her experience extremely relevant, because, while she deals with real life dilemmas, her prose is PG-13 at most, which renders it absurd that Florida schools pull her work from the shelves so often.

But, as she explains, all it takes is one parent’s objection. Her books are on a list circulated by national pressure groups, and local activists simply demand removal of the books on the list, books they’ve never seen, much less read. Her piece is a must-read.

Juxtaposition of the Day

If you want something to fret over, worry about the utter lack of political acumen demonstrated by Ron De Santis on Tucker Carlson’s show, where the man Bramhall sarcastically suggests is positioned as the GOP’s sane alternative to Trump embraced the notion that we shouldn’t be pushing back against Russian aggression in Ukraine and accused Biden of attempting regime change in Moscow.

It’s being dismissed as stunningly idiotic by experts, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t become president.

Meanwhile, even less fanatical observers are missing what Danziger depicts: The growing love-fest between Russia and China that may leave the US in the lurch. These politicians recognize China as a threat, but fail to see the link between Putin’s actions in Ukraine and Xi’s policies in Asia.

Many people, however, have been circulating a clip of Condoleezza Rice’s appearance this past Sunday on Face the Nation.

Rice isn’t everyone’s favorite. In 2006, Danziger accused her of being the hawkish brains behind Bush’s indecisive policy in Iran.

However, hawkish or simply pragmatic, she’s exercising those brains here. The whole eight minutes is worth watching but I’ve set this to start at 4:38, the specifically relevant portion:

2 thoughts on “CSotD: While we wait for the auditors

  1. Our town library kept “Thus Spake Zarathustra” under lock and key so that eager 12-year-olds wouldn’t get hold of it.

  2. I grew up in a library along with my six siblings. My mother was a Liberian and we all attended school where she worked. My family covers the political spectrum and we often share political viewpoints from the left and the right. Reading different viewpoints, historical books and especially a wide variety of city newspapers gives us all the ability to view things through different lenses. For all of us this filters out through our many family members to provide an educated yet diverse opinion on many subjects. All without rancor. To read from and about others requires the mind to process this information and hopefully understand if not agree with what is written. To not to read leaves a vacuum in which ignorance propagates.

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