Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stilton's Little Helpers

Readers: As Santa could tell you, there are those people who are nice, and those who are naughty. And unfortunately, some of the naughty ones are discovering my new book "The Obama Sutra" and posting angry non-reviews on

One critic says that the book is "crass and devoid of any detectable humor," and contains "every tired conspiracy" about his beloved Obama (not untrue conspiracies, mind you - just tired).

Another critic takes you, dear reader, to task and condemns the mindset of the people who read Hope n' Change, saying that it is "everything the Tea Party stands for summed up in one racist, ignorant, spite-filled cartoon."

Gosh- didn't they get the president's memo about using words that heal instead of words that wound?

In any event, it would mean a great deal to me if some of you would go to the Amazon website and post star-ratings and reviews of the book (even one sentence) just to help minimize the future damage which can be done by the trolls as they crawl out of the woodwork.

And if you haven't read the book yet (which is crass but definitely not devoid of humor), I've extended the 99¢ ebook price a bit longer to make it easy to buy or give as a gift. It's readable on Amazon's Kindle or any computer or smartphone using Amazon's free Kindle apps.

Whether you post a review or not, let me thank ALL of you for visiting Hope n' Change Cartoons so regularly. That's a gift that I enjoy, and am deeply appreciative of, every day!
-Stilton Jarlsberg

to the surprising number of people who took time to post reviews . I sort of feel like Jimmy Stewart at the end of "It's A Wonderful Life," surrounded by friends and well-wishers. You've certainly made my Christmas Eve special!

Friday, December 23, 2011

40 Bellyachers and a Mule

In a powerful updating of the holiday classic "A Christmas Carol," Barack Obama went before the cameras yesterday to claim that the poor, lame little ragamuffin Tiny Tim would soon die if Ebenezer Boehner didn't give the Cratchit family an extra $40 in each paycheck.

Specifically, the president and the House Republicans have been arguing over a two month extension of the "payroll tax cut," which isn't actually a tax cut at all. It's simply a short "financial holiday" during which workers won't be contributing money to their own social security plans... meaning the critically underfunded program will have even less money to work with in the future.

But Obama and his Democrat cronies have successfully positioned this as a tax cut which will magically give working Americans an extra $40 in each and every paycheck...for two whole months.

And to really seal the deal, the president asked Americans to send him sob stories about what they could do with that precious $40. Unsurprisingly, he reports that with all that money, they won't have to "choose between insulin and paying the water bill," or cancel the "family pizza night" which keeps the kids from joining gangs or contracting interesting sexually-transmitted diseases.

$40 will allow a child in Honolulu to have hot lunches at school (presumably the only low income child in America who has had to pay for a school lunch in a generation), or make an unspecified and frankly unimaginable difference to a man with inoperable cancer and (surprise!) no health insurance.

Seriously, even Tiny Tim would be gagging at all this. But as of Hope n' Change's press deadline (before the really serious drinking starts), Boehner has just caved under these maudlin arguments (and a testicular deficit amongst his Republican House members nearly as significant as the fiscal deficit) and will allow yet another flood of red ink to be added to the books.

Frankly, we're appalled at hearing Obama pretend to care about the buying power of $40 when he trivializes the loss of $1 trillion in "stimulus" spending that did nothing. With that amount of money, we could have paid $40 for insulin, "pizza night," utilities, or hot lunches 25 billion times. But instead we've gotten a shrug, a goofy grin, and an admission that there was no such thing as a shovel-ready job after all. Oopsy!

When Barack Obama then hypocritically claims that $40 is a miraculous, life-changing amount of money, we're reminded of an old story...

A group of poor kids in the inner city were bored out of their minds, had nothing to do, nowhere to go, no toys to play with, and almost no money to spend. They pooled their pocket change and came up with $3, and gave it to one boy to go into a drugstore and buy something they could have fun with.

After 5 minutes, he returns with only a box of Kotex.

"What can we do with that?!" the angry kids demand.
"Well, according to the box," the boy answers, "you can go horseback riding, you can go swimming, you can play tennis..."

Three guesses who that boy grew up to be.

- With $40, you could go to the president's web store and buy this pitcher
with his logo on the outside and, appropriately, nothing on the inside.

Actually, it's $50 - but we're pretty sure he'll lower the price if you tell him you
also need to pay your utility bills, buy insulin, and get new tips for your crutches.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shop Till We Drop

As always, you can click the cartoon for larger size

It's that time of year when many Americans are wrapping up their desperate Christmas bargain-hunting, wondering if they'll be able to cover the bills when they arrive, and putting a little extra rum in the egg nog to help cope with their worries about making ends meet in 2012.

Except in Washington DC, of course, where our legislators are still spending like drunken sailors who even other drunken sailors would describe as being really stupendously bad with money.

Which is what makes "Wastebook" such painfully amusing reading. "Wastebook" is Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn's annual breakdown of absolutely ludicrous government expenditures, and this year he quickly found $6.5 billion in screwy spending that Barack Obama, Congress, and the superdupercommittee chose to ignore.

In his report, you'll find all the examples cited in the cartoon (except "D") and many more. Did you know you're funding the "Oregon Cheese Trail" and paying to create Horse-Drawn Carriage Exhibits? And to encourage broadband Internet use in "under-served communities," the government is paying to create specially targeted online soap operas so minorities will watch their computers instead of their TVs. Are you kept awake nights wondering if cocaine will cause Japanese quail to engage in high-risk sex? Good news! The government is funding a study on that very topic!

iPads for kindergartners? Why not! A "First Lady's Organic Garden" game to fight obesity? What a terrific idea! Studies of smoking amongst University students... in Jordan... who only smoke hookahs? Money well spent! $300,000 to fund interpretive dancing "to facilitate dialogue on the physics and origin of the universe?" A bargain at twice the price!

While the report (which you can download as a PDF right here) initially makes for some pretty funny reading, the joke wears pretty thin as Coburn documents page after page after page of idiotic expenditures which make a mockery of politician's claims to be careful (or even mentally competent) stewards of our money.

As much as we like to sum up the day's commentary with an original punchline here at Hope n' Change, there's no way we could beat the one that Senator Coburn came up with. Citing the fact that Congress (quite justifiably) has an approval rating of only 9%, he says "perhaps there was no bigger waste of the taxpayer's money in 2011 than Congress itself."

Now that's on the money.

This $300,000 dance didn't really explain "the origin of the universe,"
but it gave us a MUCH clearer understanding of fiscal black holes.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Between Iraq And a Hard Place

The Iraq War is over. The last convoy of American troops has crossed the borders into Kuwait. And Barack Obama has already turned it into a campaign ad - a video called "A Promise Kept" which is not about the promise of freedom nor America's promise to the people of Iraq, but about Barack Obama keeping his campaign promise to pull the troops out, no matter what his generals said.

It is perhaps the most sneering and self-serving way for the president to end an American war imaginable. A war which Barack Obama called the "dumb war," the "rash war," and "the war of choice, not necessity."

You'd think that a war described as pointless by America's commander-in-chief would therefore be easy to wrap up. But the ever self-aggrandizing Obama chose to take to his presidential podium and declare that "It is harder to end a war than to begin one," neatly praising his own magnificence while taking yet another potshot at President Bush.

But does Obama's troop withdrawal really amount to "Mission Accomplished" if the mission is anything other than his re-election? Senator John McCain certainly doesn't think so, saying "It is clear that this decision was dictated by politics, and not our national security interests. I believe history will judge this president’s leadership with the scorn and disdain it deserves.”

History, however, will never doubt the integrity, honor, and sacrifices made by America's troops and their families over the course of this nine-year war. Over 1.5 million fought... more than 32,000 were wounded... and over 4,500 killed. There are no words sufficient to express our gratitude, nor our sorrow for their losses.

Whether those losses were in vain will be determined in the very near future as we find out whether Barack Obama's "Promise Kept" was to the Iraqi people, our nation's military, or only to Democratic voters who have been losing enthusiasm for their ineffectual president.

In the meanwhile, perhaps Mr. Obama's re-election team would like to raid their 2008 video vaults to make more "Promise Kept" commercials - showing how well the president has fulfilled his campaign promises to lower unemployment, balance the budget, end earmarks, bring peace to the Middle East, close Guantanamo, end partisanship in Washington, create a post-racial society, have the most transparent administration in history, and cause our planet's rising oceans to recede.

All of which were dumb promises. Rash promises. Promises of choice...and not reality.