Darrin Bell provides the best argued, certainly the most beautiful, but perhaps also the most futile, political cartoon of the week.
Which is to say, he's right, and he's right beyond -- the pun is unavoidable -- the surface.
He's correct that surface ice does not disprove climate change, because the loss is of deeper, non-seasonal ice, a fact well captured in his graphic.
But he's more "deeply" correct in that the growth of surface ice in the Antarctic is a sign of the greater impacts of climate change, which is more complex and has to do with the changes in how the deeper water churns as change occurs, the impact of glacial breakups reducing salinity in the immediate area and some stuff about prevailing wind patterns in the area and ...
... and none of it matters.
You might as well explain it to your dog as to climate change deniers.
The dog, at least, will listen, though he won't understand it. They won't even listen.
The science is proven. From a factual point of view, the conversation is over.
But, as this excellent piece points out, it's not about facts. It's about beliefs on a sociopolitical level that facts don't touch.
Few editors have the courage of LA Times letters editor Paul Thornton, who announced a little over a year ago that the paper would no longer publish letters denying the facts:
Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.
But all that does is to "prove" to the tinfoil brigade that the media is in a conspiracy to suppress the facts.
That Washpo piece references Merchants of Doubt, the new movie based on the book about how paid shills undermine serious conversation, and I'd like to see it, but then again it would only reinforce what I already know.
Maybe I should watch it with the dog.
Anyway, climate change doesn't matter
Bibi's gonna get us all blown to hell long before climate change really kicks in anyway.
There were all sorts of cartoons on the topic, but I particularly like Gary Varvel's take on the administration's reaction because others implied some kind of agency on Obama's part, which again provides little insight beyond "This would be a good time to invest in Reynolds Aluminum."
Whether Varvel is chortling or mourning over the election results is immaterial: He has the sense not to overstep the facts. It's bad news for the administration, but Obama did not have much to do with it, beyond hoping that moderates would have more success in the elections.
Steve Breen also avoided some of the more frantic responses to the results of the election with a quiet cartoon and a pun that seems silly, except that little boys with B-B guns have long been a symbol of heedless destruction.
Tim Eagan addressed Netanyahu's last-minute campaign move with a more complex piece focusing on the overt cynicism, though he left out Netanyahu's warning against letting the votes of Arab Israelis sway things, a moment that out-willie-hortoned anything an American candidate would dare say into an open microphone.
My own response to Netanyahu's renunciation of the two-state solution was that it is consistent with his past, and also explained why he was so adamant that the Iranians couldn't be trusted to keep their word.
Got a little case of projection going on there, Bibi?
Once the votes were counted, as Matt Davies notes, he turned around and explained that what he really meant was, "I wanted to get elected then, so I said that then, and now I want to continue to have international support, so I'm saying this now."
That's not hard to understand, is it?
Anyway, he's worried that Iran will build a secret underground nuclear arms facility and nobody will notice.
Considering his own track record for building settlements right out in the open without anybody taking effective notice, the guy has a point.
The only surprise is the surprise
I noted above that Gary Varvel is a conservative with whom I rarely agree, so let's balance that with this piece from Ted Rall, a leftwinger with whom ditto.
On the other hand, while I agree on a theological level, I'm gonna have to depart from Ted on the element of shock. Maybe you had to be raised Catholic or something, but, yeah, this is how it is.
I guess I'm pleased that he is using it to attack Bush for hypocrisy instead of attacking all Catholics over it, but, look, any time anyone describes himself as a "devout" anything, you should keep your hand on your wallet.
Devout people don't use the word. It's prideful. Devout people are, as the man said, known by their fruits, not by their ability to pray loudly on street corners.
True of Catholics, true of everybody.
And much as I enjoy watching Pope Francis force Catholics to re-examine their theology and their approach to social issues, you may refer to my remarks on the facts of climate change and deniers above.
Colman McCarthy wrote this excellent column on the topic in 2013, the first year of the new pope, and his remarks reflect my own position. Here's the gist:
A recent full-page ad in The Washington Post bought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation was titled "It's Time to Quit the Catholic Church": "If you think you can change the church from within -- get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem-cell research -- you're deluding yourself. By remaining a 'good Catholic,' you're doing 'bad' to women's rights. You're an enabler. And it's got to stop."
The ad is a tad late. The quitting has been happening. The Pew Research Center estimates that 30 million Americans are former Catholics. For every person joining, four are leaving. The joiners are now in the pews with fellow Catholics Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Jeb Bush and Pat Buchanan.
Count me among the 30 million. I wrote a column on the "Love It or Leave It" element back in 1991, and will let you off the hook with only this graf:
So here's the deal: Jeb Bush describes himself as a devout Catholic. And if you look at that article, you'll see he is consistent in that position.
It's not hypocrisy. It's reality.
Those dogs barked, and the caravan moved on.