I hate praising someone for simply paying attention, but this cartoon by Kal Kallaugher is a welcome respite from a flood of low-oil-prices cartoons that simply don't seem to get it.
OPEC pricing makes oil shale development financially dubious. If there is an actual motivation to OPEC's move -- and when were they ever helplessly buffeted by market factors? -- that's likely it.
I'm not saying Kal's take is particularly profound, but it's solid and it appears he has access to newspapers and news sites and public radio.
The first year of college, an upperclassman told me that, if you showed up for class and turned in your work, you would graduate. Being brilliant was not required.
It's a lesson to carry through life. Kal shows up and he does his homework.
Any brilliance is simply a bonus.
Silly joy-at-the-pump cartoons aside, there have been a raft of cartoons on the effect of OPEC's lowering of prices on the Russian economy, nearly all of them at Putin's expense.
Now, I did hear an analyst on Marketplace last night who included an end to adventurism in Ukraine among the possible outcomes of the collapse of the ruble. But I would suggest that, in general, taking joy from the Russian economic debacle is naive at best and, at worst, a foolish display of short-sighted chest-pounding.
I don't know if people in the Weimar Republic genuinely toted money around in wheelbarrows -- I suspect the picture we saw in our history textbooks was kind of a stunt -- but they really did rush from the paymaster to the baker to buy bread before the prices went higher, and, while the Russians are not there yet, they are anxious to turn rubles into durable goods in a timely manner.
So I looked up Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic on Wikipedia and found this disquieting analysis:
Although the inflation ended with the introduction of the Rentenmark and the Weimar Republic continued for a decade afterwards, hyperinflation is widely believed to have contributed to the Nazi takeover of Germany and Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Adolf Hitler himself in his book, Mein Kampf, makes many references to the German debt and the negative consequences that brought about the inevitability of "national socialism." Some economists, however, point out that Hitler's rise was immediately preceded by the 1931 economic crisis, which, while also being partially triggered by Germany's debt, was, unlike the hyperinflation crisis of 1923, characterized by massive deflation created by a government austerity program. Keynesian economist Paul Krugman concurred that the "1923 hyperinflation didn’t bring Hitler to power; it was the Brüning deflation and depression."
I think I preferred the Arms Race and the Moon Race to the "Who Can Become Hitler First" race.
It wasn't exactly the segue I was looking for, but here we go ...
You're either Crominbus or you're off de bus
There have been several cartoons attacking the continuing resolution from both sides. I've never been a fan of that fatuous, self-satisfied nostrum, "if they're both attacking you, you got it right." Maybe you completely screwed the whole thing up.
And maybe it's cheating to let David Horsey explain his cartoon on the topic, because art should stand alone.
However, (A) his cartoon does stand alone, it just doesn't make a very complex statement and (B) it is a very complex bill full of complex issues which his explanation only touches upon.
Jeff Danziger's cartoon, by contrast, makes a more interesting and nuanced point about compromise and also cracks me up anyway with the contrasting images of Warren as a tough cop and Clinton as going along for the ride.
Making a good point and cracking up the reader is about as good as it gets.
I am, however, concerned with the move to push Warren as a candidate, since my pragmatic side suspects that the Koch Kabal would love to see an unelectable idealistic candidate siphon young, energetic shoe leather away from whatever mainstream opposition candidate threatens the laissez-faire sock puppet the oligarchs have decided to back.
Never mind whatever votes she might get. What vaulted Bush into office over Gore was not the votes pissed away on Nader, because, as his supporters continue to point out, those numbers would not have changed the outcome.
It was, rather, the loss of campaign workers who could have been out there persuading a significant number of fence-sitters instead of preaching to their own small already-engaged collegiate choir.
I'm not proud of agreeing with the pragmatists that it was better to compromise on the Crominbus, because there were some damn stupid, harmful things that got in.
And I have never liked Hillary Clinton.
But maybe the solution is more cops on the street. Go work for another Bernie Sanders or another Elizabeth Warren. Get your pals in a half dozen other states to do the same.
Flooding the legislature with rebels seems to have worked out for the Tea Party, because you can't have the White House but you can sure have the House if you put some back into it.
And, yes, if you can put some secret funding from supportive billionaires into it as well.
Which leaves nothing to laugh about except the earworm generated by Mike Smith's cartoon:
The difference being that Ray Walston was pretending to be Satan
while Cheney is pretending not to be.
Okay, one more:
The revelation that Bush didn't know what Cheney was up to until four years into his administration brought this 2002 Adam Felber piece to mind. It's not depressing that Bush didn't know what was going on. What's depressing is how easily we can believe it: