Manhattan Flannel

Raging Moderate, by Will Durst

There they go again. The Democrats, that is. All Mitch McConnell had to do was threaten to wave his arms and intone his mantra of “Activist Judges!” and they flinched like a red-headed stepchild in goal at the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. On the other hand, when Republicans pick a Supreme Court nominee in the throes of a majority swagger, they shoot the moon choosing an ideologue to the right of Stalin. But the donkeys are as skitterish as a bunny in a tent full of cleat-wearing elephants and inevitably try to slide through leaving no visible ripples in the pond of midterm bipartisanship.

elena kagan gay lesbian paper trail

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - msnbc.com (click to reprint)

Glorying in his chance to replace John Paul Stevens’ doctor as the most important liberal in America, President Obama nominated moderate Elena Kagan to walk in the 90-year-old’s comfortable shoes. If confirmed, she’ll become the third woman and fourth Supreme Court Justice from New York City: Scalia from Queens, Sotomayor from the Bronx, Ginsburg from Brooklyn and now Kagan from Manhattan. Don’t you love the new diversity? Be surprised if someone isn’t compiling a short list of qualified nominees from Staten Island. Who went to Harvard.

Kagan attended Princeton, Oxford and Harvard, a potential sixth sitting justice to wear the Crimson. Delivering another crippling blow to we state schoolies. And the fact that I’m using “schoolies” might be part of the problem. Recent trends report the less we know of a candidate, the better their chance of slaloming through the chain-link fence of character assassination known as the Senate Confirmation Hearings; thus we know more about Martian quantum physics than we do Ms. Kagan. Besides being former dean of Harvard Law and the current solicitor general of the United States, which must mean she’s proved herself to be a pretty good solicitor. And a general. So she’s got that going for her.

She wrote her senior thesis on “socialism in the early 20th century,” raising a red flag to conservatives who consider socialism contagious; even though she only studied it, she is open to accusations of being a carrier. Typhoid Elena. Her major sticking point is a lack of judicial experience, and to say her paper trail is scant is like intimating that BP is unlikely to be named winner of the Shrimp Fishers of America Good Citizen of the Year Award.

Prepared to put on the last robe she’ll ever wear, Kagan has taken blank slate to a whole new schoolhouse. And because of her track record vacuum, her sexuality or lack thereof has begun sidling center stage. The question: Is she gay? And if so, is she out? And if not, who cares? Eliott Spitzer, a Harvard classmate, says she went out on dates with men but not with him. Because when it comes to sex, Spitzer apparently is our go-to guy.

Granted, she is 50 and unmarried, and was photographed playing softball and wearing flannel, setting most of Middle America’s gaydar a-tingling. What’s the old joke: we don’t know if Elena Kagan is a lesbian, but her hair is. However, unless photos of her in bed with the Indigo Girls surface in the Enquirer, gay, straight or Gary, the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court will consist of six Catholics and three Jews. Sounds like the dance card at a KKK lawn-burning jamboree. We certainly have come a long way. Baby. Then again, who better to decide questions of innocence than members of the planet’s two most guilt-consumed faiths?

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Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who writes. This being a dazzling example. Catch him at the Punch Line, May 27- 29, www.punchlinecomedyclub.com, 444 Battery St., San Francisco, 415.397.7573. New CD, “Raging Moderate” from Stand Up! Records now available on both iTunes and Amazon.

Copyright ©2010, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. Call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail [email protected]. Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at [email protected]. Check out willandwillie.com for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes at: http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/shows/BurstOfDurst.

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Sloppy Pool of Tizzy in the Gobi Desert

Raging Moderate, by Will Durst

Hard to feel much sympathy for the Republicans and the sloppy pool of tizzy they high-dived into. Perplexed as how to combat financial regulatory legislation, they are bouncing back and forth between a filibuster and a compromise like a ping-pong ball in a stainless steel shower stall. Their banker buddies have pushed hard to oppose any and all restrictions, placing the GOP in the unenviable position of having to defend Wall Street during an election year. Might want to practice by going to Sea World and rooting for the sharks to eat the dolphins in front of your kids.

Mitch mcconnell Wall Street

Cartoon by John Cole - Scranton Times-Tribune (click to purchase)

At first, the party-line strategy was to affirm a unified opposition to the bill because it helped Wall Street. By regulating it. Yeah. Okay. Well, nobody said it was going to be an easy sell. All 41 GOP senators signed a letter proclaiming steadfast opposition to any overhaul and if they had to shut down the process, they were prepared to do so. It was going to be Health Care II, pertaining to something that distressed their constituents even more than their health. This was about money.

The banking industry then engaged in a full frontal assault: “It’ll hurt the economy.” You know what, if self-delusion were sand, these guys would be the Gobi Desert. What planet have they been living on for the last two years? Boys, do yourselves a favor; put down the Financial Times, pick up a local newspaper, and read about communities forced to cut such non-essential services as fire and police while you’re racking up bonuses larger than those communities’ shortfalls. Science has yet to develop instruments capable of measuring this kind of arrogance. We need a new scale.

Mitch McConnell and his ilk continued to give it the old college try; the Senator from Kentucky was locked in a “bailout” loop, muttering, shouting, whispering it into Mrs. Senate Minority Leader McConnell’s ear. One unofficial estimate has him repeating the word “bailout” 3,847 times on April 19, 2010. A blatant attempt to tie into the GOP’s revisionist history of Wall Street’s bailout being just another example of Obama’s socialist agenda: conveniently forgetting that a Republican administration proposed the bailout and Mr. McConnell and all his friends voted for it. Great, something new to worry about — a collective senior moment.

The game-changer award goes to the SEC, jumping into the ring like a wrestling cohort in street clothes, charging Goldman Sachs with bilking investors out of a billion dollars via a CDO designed to fail. This scattered the arm-locked ranks like a keg of tequila with a leaky spigot rolled into an AA meeting. We, the vast unwashed public, wondered if they’re willing to screw their own customers, what untold horrors were held in store for us? The commission’s commissioners claim the timing was purely co-incidental. Unh-hunh. And chlorine-soaked wood splinters make for excellent eye swabs.

The original idea for the New Obstructionists was to keep repeating the mantra that “guvmint is bad” and hope the voters never notice they have become their own best argument. Yeah, sure, Washington is broken. You bang on a monument with sledgehammers long enough, eventually everyone becomes blind from marble dust. But now the GOP has to stumble back into those ruins and somehow look supportive doing it. Hope they brought their swim goggles.

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Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who often writes. This being a conspicuous example. Catch him hosting “The Green Collar Comedy Show” on Showtime all this month. Rooster T. Feathers April 20-23, 2010; 157 West El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, Cal. 408.736.0921. roostertfeathers.com. Funnyfest. Calgary, Alberta. April 29- May 2. Funnyfest.com. 403.228.7888 New CD, “Raging Moderate” from Stand- Up Records now available on both iTunes and Amazon.

Copyright ©2010, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. Call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail [email protected]. Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at [email protected]. Check out willandwillie.com for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes at: http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/shows/BurstOfDurst.

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Cola Wars and the Campaign to Sell Wall Street Status Quo

In the past hundred years Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola have spent billions in advertising and employed millions of people to get you to think this caffeinated bubbly sugar water is different/better/worse than that caffeinated bubbly sugar water. People are fiercely loyal and opinionated on the subject. All this marketing and bloviating ignores the fact that two very similar cola products do not equal actual choice. It boils down to an epic campaign for a product void of nutritional substance; a “refreshment” rather than a food. In the end, save the hype – it’s all a bunch of bubbles, sugar and water.

Mitch McConnell Wall Street Reform

Cartoon by Dave Granlund - PoliticalCartoons.com (click to purchase)

For us veterans of the Cola Wars it’s easy to see that conflict can be manufactured, passions misdirected and sometimes what we fight about is intentionally vague.

We saw this during the health care debate when House Minority Leader John Boehner and others called the then-bill “a government takeover of health care.” The only way the statement was true is if you were an insurance company not wanting to be told you have to cover sick people. If “regulations” equal a government takeover of health care then stoplights are a government takeover of traffic.

Health care reform is a far cry from government taking over anything. In the town halls over the summer people were upset by the idea, so with some encouragement and coaching by interest groups they came out to make that known. As the saying goes, feelings are not facts and in the health care debate the latter beat the snot out of the former. In the end we’re a sick nation that pays more than any other country for health care and we still rate low in quality of care. The bill that passed is an improvement not a cure-all, and certainly not enough to trigger the end of the world or even cause an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano to erupt.

The next smoke and mirror campaign is pointed at the financial regulatory reform bill. It’s not an easy task to sell that criminalizing the mass fleecing of the middle class, resulting in the unprecedented cratering of the world’s economy can somehow be bad for working Americans. Senator Mitch McConnell has tried by saying the reform bill will lead to an endless taxpayer-funded bailout. This was widely panned as being straight from pollster Frank Luntz’s Word Doctors leaked report on how to stop the bill. Number 17, under Language reads, “It’s not “˜reform.’ ““ This is not a reform bill. It is the “˜Stop the Big Bank Bailout bill.'” It’s also widely noted that the status quo is the actual endless taxpayer-funded bailout.

Like saying, “Don’t outlaw grift ““ private industry theft creates jobs. No socialism!”
Whose side are these guys on?

One would think this financial cataclysm would tone down the canard chorus for some safeguard installments. But hey, people think the uniform burger chain Burger King is an alternative to the uniform burger chain McDonalds. Mounds of money can make even the goofiest of conclusions suddenly make sense.

It’s not going to be comfortable to convince the millions of victims that the shady, immoral and unethical practices on Wall Street that put them out on the street, crippled their neighborhood and wiped-out their retirement shouldn’t be zapped by sunlight because of “American values.” It’d be a nice trick, though.

One is the argument to leave well enough alone, Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel said on This Week, “The fact that the SEC has a civil complaint against this [Goldman Sachs], their argument is that this is about misrepresentation of marketing a security, a law that has been on the books forever.” So because there is a suit brought up by the SEC against Goldman, it is proof we don’t need any more regulations for the banking industry? The suit is civil so if Goldman loses because of their sneaky and super complicated shorting which made them billions, they’ll have to pay a fine. Unfortunately (pun intended), a lot of the stuff they did was legal, that’s the real issue.

Usually being criminally injurious is a crime. But, we can talk it out over a Coke”¦or a Pepsi, whichever you prefer.
“””“

Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer , a columnist for Cagle Cartoons and the editor of FishbowlLA.com. Follow Tina on Twitter @TinaDupuy.

Want to run Tina’s column in your publication? Contact Cari Dawson Bartley. E-mail [email protected], (800) 696-7561.

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