CSotD: Picking up the pieces

My usual rule is to not feature a cartoon more than a week after it runs, but I’ve recently wound up with a collection of good pieces that got buried by more immediate issues. I’m allowed to break my own rule.

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that generating cryptocurrency gobbles up a lot of electricity, and they also know that our grid is not all that robust. This Nick Anderson (Tribune) cartoon ran before the heat waves really took hold, but it’s more relevant now, what with power companies asking people to restrict their use of air conditioners in order to prevent brownouts.

Aside from whatever strain crypto may put on the grid, there’s also the question of how the electricity it requires is generated, which still keeps us focused on the heat wave, but in a more long-term sense.

There’s also a conversation bubbling up about AI’s impact on the grid, but it seems more complex and I can’t sort the serious discussion from the on-the-other-hand justifications. It could be that AI both eats up electricity and makes generation more efficient, but that sure sounds like it contains a pretty generous slice of pie-in-the-sky.

Fiona Katauskas offers more overall reflection on the sorry state of our attempts to slow climate change. I don’t expect everyone to accept that this particular week of weather is entirely due to climate change, but the overall patterns are clear, even to a cartoonist who is, at the moment, living in the winter half of the globe.

And whether or not climate issues are getting worse, discussion of them certainly isn’t getting any better.

It’s been decades since climate scientists came to consensus on the existence and threat of climate change, but we’ve still got people arguing that while those who study related fields agree, here’s a doctor who treats warts and says it’s all a bunch of hooey.

Which we can tie in to both Project 2025 and the SCOTUS decision overturning the Chevron doctrine, since a Trump victory would allow the gutting of the EPA and the replacement of those scientists with that wart doctor or any nicely compliant know-nothing.

And the press would cover it because there’s no news value in something everyone agrees on, but it’s important to hear dissenting voices, whatever their actual level of credibility.

Sometimes a dissenting voice provides a needed antidote to overly saccharine coverage. Cathy Wilcox counters the gosh-golly coverage of pandas being offered to Australia, and we’ve had equally lightweight stories playing out in the States.

I’m not against panda diplomacy, but pandas alone don’t mean much if there isn’t a fair amount of more substantive diplomacy being offered. I haven’t looked to see if “panda” and “pander” are side-by-side in the dictionary, but they’re close.

Bottom line kids: If some guy in the parking lot tells you he’s got a panda in his van, don’t get in to see it.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Marty Two Bulls

Jeff Danziger — Counterpoint

A pair of military exemptions being threatened here, one theoretical and one factual.

The US hasn’t had an active draft since the end of the Vietnam War, but 18-year-old men are still required to register with the Selective Service and 18-year-old women are not. As Two Bulls points out, the resistance to equality in that area is scary to politicians, though, as this article explains, the left doesn’t want a draft at all, while the right doesn’t want women to have to serve.

Meanwhile, Ultra-Orthodox Israelis have been both exempt from military service and strong supporters of Netanyahu, and Danziger suggests that losing the first element — which is now happening — just might impact the second.

The notion of required military service offers plenty of opportunity for debate but in this country we’re running out of people who remember the draft. Young commentators claim that Trump took “five deferments” when four were just the same II-S student deferment renewed each year. It was only after his II-S ran out that he became an actual draft dodger with that dubious heel-spurs excuse.

As it happens, the draft ended more or less about the time conservatives were assuring American women that they didn’t need the Equal Rights Amendment because they were already equal.

The problem with the draft being that, while everyone was equal, some were more equal than others.

Strikes me that, if we’d had an active draft without a lot of deferments in 2003, maybe we’d have thought twice before sending troops to Iraq. We’ll see how casting a wider net works for the war in Gaza.

Danziger scores again with this plain-spoken commentary, combining the Surgeon General’s warning about the impact of social media on children with the rising controversy over cell phones in school.

He’s right to suggest that schools could as readily prohibit cell phones as they do guns, though there’s probably some well-funded rightwing law firm somewhere trying to find a kid to bring gun bans to the Supreme Court as a Second Amendment issue.

But the Selective Service isn’t the only place in which privilege and exemptions are part of the game. Parents insist that they’re unable to call the office to have them tell Johnny his orthodontist appointment has been canceled and he should come home on his usual bus.

Though there is no other sensible reason for him to be carrying a phone to class.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

David Rowe

Liam Simonelli

Marine Le Pen was expecting an electoral win but instead, as Rowe illustrates, got a kick in the can-can as French voters roared back, defying the polls and rejecting the far right.

Mai-Juin 1968

It was a stunning surprise, even in a country where it’s not hard to get people out of their comfy chairs and out into the streets.

On the other side of the Channel, British voters who had slept through the Brexit referendum in 2016 swept the long-reigning Conservative Party out of power in a landslide, the combination prompting Simonelli to ask American voters if they plan to show up, too, or are content to let the polls come true through compliant apathy.

It’s a good question. The Lincoln Project has a preview of an alternative to marking that Y box: The promised implementation of Project 2025.

One thought on “CSotD: Picking up the pieces

  1. For me, the Lincoln Project video is very, very effective. I don’t follow them as often and know they can push boundaries. But holy smokes. That is terrifying.

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