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Societal Decline

Panel from xkcd webcomicI enjoyed the Mike Judge movie Idiocracy, so long as I could suppress the gag reflex — it’s funny, but gross.

But Randall Munroe’s webcomic xkcd makes an excellent point:

More harm has been done by people panicked over societal decline than societal decline ever did.

By George, he’s got something there. You can click the image to see the complete comic.

Those who aren’t already familiar with xkcd might be startled by the crude stick-figure drawings, or by the crude language sometimes present in the comics. I think those things are simply evidence of society’s decline and inevitable collapse, but I could be wrong.

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Powerhouse

Via Cartoon Brew: If you’re a fan of Warner Bros. cartoons from the 40s, this musical number may sound familiar to you. It’s called Powerhouse, and it was written by Raymond Scott, and often borrowed by cartoon composer Carl Stalling.

If you’re as old as I am, you may even remember harmonica bands. Unless your memory is going.

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All Over the World

Whole Earth for ObamaThe whole world is celebrating Obama’s election:

From the front lines of Iraq to more genteel spots like Harry’s Bar in Paris, the election of Barack Obama unlocked a floodgate of hope that a new American leader will redeem promises of change, rewrite the political script and, perhaps as important as anything else, provide a kind of leadership that will erase the bitterness of the Bush years.

No, really — the whole world, as seen in this exclusive documentary image at The Joy of Tech — click the image to see the complete cartoon.

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Caught!

Uncle Sam not wearing a flag lapel pinCartoonist Don Asmussen reminds us that, even on the Fourth of July, we must always be on the lookout for people who aren’t patriotic enough.

At a difficult time like today, can we really trust this country to anyone who doesn’t jump through meaningless symbolic hoops to prove his patriotism? And can we trust those who do jump through meaningless symbolic hoops? I mean — maybe it’s all part of some grand master plan to make us believe that they’re patriotic even when their actions hurt the country.

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Job Qualifications

Hero for HireCartoonist D.C. Simpson looks at McCain’s job qualifications. (Click to see the whole cartoon.)

I also like this cartoon about the brilliance of Karl Rove. And this one, on a long eight years.

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Founder Funnies

Judge Scalia's Constitution ComicsSupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is an originalist so far as the Constitution is concerned. He doesn’t believe in a “living Constitution” that is reinterpreted as the world changes; he’s dedicated to the original meaning of the words of the Constitution, insofar as he can discern it, and applying that meaning in all circumstances.

This week he decided that the first part of the Second Amendment — “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State” — was just padding, and didn’t mean anything. Yeah, the authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were always rambling on like that.

With the help of cartoonist Ruben Bolling, Judge Scalia takes us back to look at some other padding in the Constitution — something about habeas corpus. Click the comic to see the whole cartoon.

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Rough Campaign

There’s no doubt about it, the Republicans are going to be playing hardball this year, as cartoonist Don Asmussen has discovered:

Obama's 'Greatest Dad' Mug is arrogant

If there’s one thing Republicans know, it’s arrogance and elitism.

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Dubya Turns State’s Evidence

Dubya enters witness protection programTom Tomorrow predicts the future.

February, 2009: Facing investigations into dozens of scandals, former president George W. Bush turns state’s evidence. He enters the federal witness protection program and is assigned a new identity as manager of a big-box home improvement store…

… and with Dubya’s executive experience, it’s all downhill from there.

(In an older cartoon, Mr. Tomorrow looks at the real cost of the War in Iraq. It’s not very funny.)

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Never Leaving

Nate the Neo-ConCartoonist Ruben Bolling brings us Nate, a typical neo-conservative. (Click the link or the cartoon to see the whole thing.)

You really don’t want one of these guys moving into your neighborhood.

Here’s another Nate cartoon, showing how Nate became a high-powered newspaper columnist. Nate’s never, ever right. But that must mean he’s due, right?

Update: And here’s another Nate cartoon. And another.

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Two-Fisted Justice

Ever wonder where cartoonists get their wildest, wackiest ideas? Ruben Bolling got this goofy bit from Justice Scalia himself, on 60 Minutes:

Torture isn't cruel and unusual punishment

“If someone’s in custody, as in Abu Ghraib, and they are brutalized by a law enforcement person, if you listen to the expression ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ doesn’t that apply?” Stahl asks.

“No, No,” Scalia replies.

“Cruel and unusual punishment?” Stahl asks.

“To the contrary,” Scalia says. “Has anybody ever referred to torture as punishment? I don’t think so.”

“Well, I think if you are in custody, and you have a policeman who’s taken you into custody…,” Stahl says.

“And you say he’s punishing you?” Scalia asks.

“Sure,” Stahl replies.

“What’s he punishing you for? You punish somebody…,” Scalia says.

“Well because he assumes you, one, either committed a crime … or that you know something that he wants to know,” Stahl says.

“It’s the latter. And when he’s hurting you in order to get information from you…you don’t say he’s punishing you. What’s he punishing you for? He’s trying to extract…,” Scalia says.

The man is a judge. Not just any old judge — he’s a Justice of the Supreme Court — the single U.S. court whose rulings can’t be appealed.

Wild? Yes. Wacky? Yes. Funny? No way.

And John McCain promises more judges like that.

Honestly, it boggles the mind.

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Too Much is Not Enough

Almost out of cashSome people are hard to please. From the New York Times:

Exxon Mobil reported the second-best quarterly profit in its history on Thursday — and investors could barely hide their disappointment.

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said its net income rose 17 percent in the first quarter, buoyed by high oil prices. But that was less than Wall Street expected, and Exxon’s shares fell 3.6 percent, to close at $89.70.

The Internet cartoon Joy of Tech thinks the problem is that we’ve passed Peak Profit. (Click the link or the cartoon to see the whole thing.)

It’s all downhill from here.

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Hulk 2.0

Hulk 2008In my younger days, I was a huge fan of Marvel comic books.

I enjoyed the first two Spider-Man movies. I cringed through both Fantastic Four movies. I’m eager to see Iron Man when it comes out on DVD — probably around Thanksgiving time.

I didn’t know what to make of Ang Lee’s Hulk movie. Frankly, it left me baffled. I didn’t enjoy it, but I thought maybe I could see it five years later and say, “Are you kidding? It’s brilliant!”

Now, five years later, it looks like they’re trying again. Universal is promoting another Hulk movie, scheduled to open June 13th.

Unfortunately, the computer-graphics Hulk still looks like a character from a video game.

Who knows? Maybe in another five years…

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Inner Truth

Tony Blair portraitThis official portrait of a tired Tony Blair took me by surprise — in my mental image of him, Blair seems younger, more energetic, and more cheerful. In the portrait, he seems a weary and broken man.

Tony Blair was a fine man who made one grave error: he put his trust in George W. Bush.

I think he was a great friend to America, who thought he could restrain the worst impulses of the reckless Bush by being Bush’s closest ally. By going along with some of Bush’s plans, he imagined he would be well-positioned for the give-and-take on other matters. He didn’t realize that Bush is no give and all take. It took a toll on his political popularity. The portrait suggests it took a toll on Blair himself.

I’ve never seen a photograph that looks like this. But the artist, I think, has really captured the man’s essence.

A great portrait rarely looks just like the photos. Instead, it shows us what’s inside — the inner truth of the subject.

Who should do the official portrait of George W. Bush? What artist can capture his inner truth? I nominate Ward Sutton.

It’s true, the picture there doesn’t quite do justice to Bush. As in any good portrait, the artist flatters the subject.

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Short Attention Span Theater

Via Boing Boing:


Wildly Popular ‘Iron Man’ Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Film

Hollywood ruins everything.

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How America Was Destroyed

1961 - A baby is born in Hawaii, and the plot is hatchedCartoonist Ruben Bolling shows us How America Was Destroyed.

And yet, in a surprise twist, we were doomed anyway!

And, as we all know, if a bad person were to become president, there is no possible way to oppose the destruction of America.