CSotD: Sunday Potpourri

We’ll start with a non-political one. I’m disappointed in the new Sunday Ben Bolt (KFS-Vintage) story arc. Ben Bolt is mostly light, semi-humorous stuff on Sundays, but this reminded me of a scene in City for Conquest, a 1940 movie in which Cagney boxes to help support his composer brother.

There is a scene in which he is introduced to a mug who has a pity-job as a janitor in the gym because he had permanent brain damage in the ring. Some movies used punch drunk mugs as comic relief, but in this one, it’s a dire warning, and I’d hoped Ben was headed the same direction. Apparently not.

City for Conquest is imperfect but memorable. It also shows how, in those more civilized days, a director could depict Ann Sheridan being forcibly raped by Anthony Quinn, preserving the horror without being exploitive or violating the cinematic code.

On to modern, less admirable times:

Alex got an extra laff from me because when Alden Global Capital took over the Denver Post, they shut down the (handy, well-located) downtown offices and moved news, sales and circulation to a distant suburban print plant, but, by golly, they set up a game room for the reporters.

Right before they began slitting throats.

A foosball table isn’t much fun when there’s nobody left to play with.

But, as the woman in the cartoon explains, workers don’t cost much if you hire rookies and only pretend that you expect them to stick around long enough to earn raises.

And if you’re content to only pretend to be a real newspaper.

I started working for the Post when it was a doorstop. By the time I left, it was a pamphlet and you could fire a cannon through that new, improved newsroom without harming a soul.

But they sure had a cool game room.

Meanwhile, Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) echoes Trump’s promise to put an end to the move towards electric vehicles, which he claims is a job killer, apparently because they hatch from eggs rather than being built by autoworkers.

NPR had a good update on the strike on last evening’s All Things Considered, including controversy over Biden’s pledge to visit the picket lines. As the reporter said, “(T)there are some conservative and middle-of-the-road pundits who say this is not OK, right? This is a mistake for the president to essentially choose sides.”

Check your history: Grover Cleveland chose sides in the Pullman Strike, too.

He ordered in the Army and the National Guard to put it down.

We all make choices.

Bill Bramhall notes another choice, which is that the Democrats have once more chosen to support ethical standards and the law, calling for Sen. Menendez to resign rather than objecting to the fact that he has been doing a good imitation of Clarence Thomas, in collecting gifts and favors from friends, and calling his critics a racist lynch mob.

Assuming he is convicted, the MAGAts will have another choice to make: Either quit complaining that only corrupt law-breaking Republicans are prosecuting or pretend the Menendez case never happened at all.

I know which space I’m sliding my chips onto.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Gary Varvel — Creators

Chip Bok — Creators

I frequently criticize Varvel and Bok for either neglecting to look into the facts or flagrantly misrepresenting them, but their commentary on the Iran prisoner release is reasonable, if flawed.

It isn’t American money. It’s South Korean payment for Iranian oil. To suggest that we gave them our money is so wrong as to raise the issue of where to draw the line between an error and a lie.

(Slight Digression: I had a conversation about Russian translation at the dog park Friday, and how a Russian wouldn’t say “You’re wrong” but a less confrontational, “You might not be exactly correct.” As a Yank, I find it impossible to contain myself so well.)

I will give them both credit for their basic criticism, however: Though the Korean money is to be limited to humanitarian purposes, it wouldn’t be hard for the Iranians to then divert their own budgeting to other purposes.

Varvel seems to ignore the fact that the nuclear deal was working until Trump broke it up, which makes weapons development a Republican choice.

But Bok does better by using a less specific “Death to America” goal, assuming you view that blustering slogan as an umbrella term for Iran’s overall external policies.

Though I would slightly buffer it all by pointing out that our states do the same thing when they promote their lotteries as benefiting schools and parks: They simply shift the financial burden from the general tax fund and place it on the backs of people dumb enough to think they’re going to win a kabillion dollars by misspending their grocery money.

Iran makes choices. We make choices. Everybody makes choices.

As long as I’m handing out kudos to cartoonists with whom I generally disagree, I was pleased to see Kirk Walters (KFS) point out the wrong direction in which the GOP is heading.

I think he’s right that the majority even of Republican voters were not intending to let the crazies of the Freedom Caucus take control of the party, and I’m convinced that extremism and nutty behavior is putting the GOP’s House majority in peril.

Though, while I agree with Walters on that point, I’m in even firmer agreement with Jennifer Rubin that we should all STFU about polls until we get a whole lot closer to November 2024.

That’s a must-read, unless you find it constructive to sit around the campfire with your flashlight under your chin, warning about choking dobermans and hooks on car doors.

And speaking of those who rejoice in spreading groundless fear:

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There’s been a lot of ink spilled over Rupert Murdoch’s retirement, but Joe Heller managed to both make a point and get a laugh.

After all, why should we believe anything announced by Fox and the rest of the Murdoch Empire?

I also got a laugh out of this PG-13 farewell to the old fellow, which sums up his career, his accomplishments and the writer’s opinion of it all.

I just wish those Aussies weren’t so stuffy and restrained in how they express themselves! (hat tip and gratitude to Cathy Wilcox).

Now sing along with Billy:

12 thoughts on “CSotD: Sunday Potpourri

  1. Polling trends indicate most Americans aren’t duped by politically motivated, trumped-up indictments in contrast to damning investigative documentation provided by Congress. Menendez may have been more careless in covering his tracks, but as of late, bribery and corruption seem to be the common theme for Democrats.

  2. In regards to any accusation, the word “evidence” or “proof” is typically considered to be an abstract noun. This is because it refers to something that is not a physical object or substance, but rather an idea or concept. For example, the evidence for a scientific theory is not an object that can be held or touched, but rather a collection of data and observations that support the theory. Similarly, the evidence for a crime is not a physical object, but rather information that is used to prove or disprove the crime. Highly respected legal scholars such as Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley have stated clearly in their opinion, the indictments appear to be political targeting based primarily on flimsy novel legal theories. I’ve seen a number of folks participate in this forum who exaggerate in generalities without providing any specific factual back-up. I am always delighted to offer sound reasoning behind my point of view…as with the following link: https://www.axios.com/2023/09/21/joe-biden-illegal-hunter-business

  3. Thanks for the link to the Jennifer Rubin piece. The only problem is that if the mainstream media actually reported that way, they would lose any MAGAt-leaning viewers they have left. So it will never happen. They must continue their attempt at being “fair and balanced”, as they define it. Sad.

    1. American news media be like “Yes, this doctor discovered a cure for cancer after many decades of research, but won’t someone think of how cancer feels?”

  4. Dear Mike, appreciate your insights on the Iran dance. Do I remember correctly that we (u.s.) started the decades long growing downhill avalanch by deposing a democratic government in Iran in the 1950’s?

    And, yes, polls are almost all highly biased popularity contests. Distorted by: loaded wording of questions, biased composition of those polled, etc. Here’s a good line for a comic “a recent poll indicates that a majority of people think people should’t believe polls”
    Have a good Sunday.

    1. Going back to Allen Dulles for foreign relations seems like going back to McKinley for the annexations of the Spanish-American War: Accurate without addressing much in today’s world. I’m not sure that, if the Shah had not been around, the Ayatollah wouldn’t have risen to challenge a democratic leadership in favor of a religious autocracy.

      1. I think that Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis discusses this and the way it set the stage for the Ayatollahs in a way that a democratically elected government would perhaps have not.

  5. Dear Mike and Rich Furman, thanks for the additional perspective. It’s obviously more complex than I read and remembered. I should realize that power grabbing people rarely consider what’s best for society. It’s a complex dance and some partners are very aggressive.

  6. Varvel’s comic is a bit reminiscent of the Rube Goldberg classic of the house on the bomb on a precipice; wonder if that was intentional. Goldberg’s was way better though.

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