Category Archives: Newpapers

Financial Struggles of Rubio and Hastert

150611-hastert-rubioThe NYT is on Marco Rubio’s case. The paper reported he’s had 4 traffic tickets in 17 years! Not only that, he used an $800,000 book advance to pay off $100,000 in student loans and buy an $80,000 fishing boat – or a “luxury speed boat”.  All this packed into not one, but two stories. The second story appeared on Wednesday’s front page under the headline Rubio Career Bedeviled by Financial Struggles

The editors seem unaware that Rubio’s financial struggles are the same struggles bedeviling a lot of normal people. Jon Stewart is on The Times’ case.

Meanwhile a picture directly above the Rubio story, in the print edition, features the financial struggles of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Hastert’s struggles aren’t so much like those of normal people. He’s accused of agreeing to pay $3.5 million in blackmail. Paying blackmail isn’t illegal, but using your own cash to do it is, if you withdraw over $10,000. Hastert tried to avoid that by taking out less than 10 grand more often. Apparently that’s illegal too.

Jon Kass of the Chicago Tribune is not happy with Dennis Hastert.

Cyber War

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NSA may have cut back on stealing your data but China hasn’t. Chinese government operatives continue to hack U.S. government, university, and corporate networks. A WSJ editorial titled The Chinese Have Your Numbers claims they made off with the personnel files of 2.1 million fed employees. Could be you’ve earned a purple heart in a cyber war and don’t know it.

Keeping up with Cait

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The train of public tolerance for LGBT issues left the station a while ago. Bruce Jenner’s sympathetic interview with Diane Sawyer helped move it down the tracks. In that appearance Bruce wore men’s clothes on the outside but felt like a woman on the inside. Now all of a sudden he’s Caitlyn in a corset on the cover of Vanity Fair.

Who wants to see a 65 year old of any sex in a corset? A lot of people apparently. Caityn had 2 million twitter followers by Friday. On July 15 Jenner will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on ESPN’s ESPY Awards. A reality show, “I am Cait”, premiers on “E” network July 26.

Now Cait Courageous is riding the gravy train of one the greatest publicity stunts in history. Not that there’s anything wrong with publicity stunts.

Update:

Mark Steyn thinks “NOAA’s adjustment of their (climate) figures is a far bigger story than Caitlyn’s adjustment of hers.”

 

Cartoon Punch Down

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If somebody tells you you can’t draw something, the proper response of any self-respecting cartoonist is to draw that thing. Bosch Fawstin did exactly that and won first prize in the “Draw Mohammad” contest a week ago. In his cartoon a sword wielding Mohammad says, “You can’t draw me”, to which Fawstin responds, “That’s why I draw you.”

He also drew a response. Two heavily armed would be jihadis were gunned down by a cop with a pistol as they tried to turn “Draw Mohammad” into a “Charlie Hebdo” style massacre.

Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau’s approach is different from the Fawstin way. He explained it in his acceptance speech for a Polk lifetime achievement award  last month. It’s the punching bag theory of cartooning. He says that satire must always punch up at the powerful and never punch down at the powerless.

Now they tell me. There are rules for satire.

I like Doonesbury but haven’t liked its politics ever since the entire cast cheered Nixon’s wage/price controls back in the early 70’s. But that’s no reason to not appreciate a good cartoon. Doonesbury has been like an ongoing play with well developed characters who grow over time. It’s witty too. Most of the time.

Steyn Punch Down

Mark Steyn, on the other hand, hates Trudeau’s guts. So I picked out some of the good stuff from his column A Contemptible Man Strikes Down:

“The Polk Award is named after a journalist shot dead at point-blank range in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war. So you might have thought it would be in ever so mildly bad taste to use the opportunity of a Polk acceptance speech to piss on the graves of a group of journalists similarly murdered. Nevertheless, that’s what Mr Trudeau did:

Charlie Hebdo, which always maintained it was attacking Islamic fanatics, not the general population, has succeeded in provoking many Muslims throughout France to make common cause with its most violent outliers. This is a bitter harvest.

Ah, so Charlie Hebdo is to blame for provoking ordinary, peaceful, moderate Muslims into supporting the Allahu Akbar guys who killed them.

Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists like Molière and Daumier always punched up, holding up the self-satisfied and hypocritical to ridicule. Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.

 

Half Baked Near Treachery

150313-half-baked-near-treacheryForty-six Republican senators have signed a letter written by freshman Senator Tom Cotton to the leaders of Iran. The letter explains that the nuclear deal President Obama is negotiating is non-binding and won’t survive after he leaves office.

For that breech of etiquette foreign policy expert Leslie Gelb, in a Daily Beast column, says “Republicans hate Obama more than a nuclear Iran”. He calls the letter an act of “near treachery”. (On the other hand, in January he demanded that Obama fire his staff and meet with Senate leaders.)

Fellow foreign policy expert, David Ignatius, says the Senators’ letter is “Grossly irresponsible”.

Michael Gerson thinks the letter is a “half baked” scheme brought on by Obama cutting the Senate out of the process.

Mark Thiessen says it’s not a big deal because it’s all happened before – and he was part of it.

Carl M. Cannon thinks calling the Senators  traitors is “beyond Orwellian”.

And Molly Hemingway, in The Federalist, complete with a photo of veteran Tom Cotton holding a kitten while on military duty, calls the whole over-reaction a “media smear”.