Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 01/20/2011

Tough nuts to crack

By Tom Toles

c_01202011.gif
***
Be sure to check out my State of the Union Cartoon Caption Contest, now through Jan. 24.
***
Wonkitude
I somehow have found myself trying to rally the troops for empiricism, a battle cry that in the history of humanity has mustered a grand total of zero enthusiasm. At least not in this country. Anybody who is temperamentally inclined to study policy detail moves here to Washington and promptly disappears into the machinery. Everyone else stays out there in the wide open spaces and proclaims that they don't want to be confused by all that book-learnin.

You can wish all you want to be left alone to live your life free of the heated breath of big government, but come on, get rid of government and what you'll be feeling is the heated breath of ever-larger corporations and the forces of globalization. Look around. You don't raise your own food on the family farm or tan your own leather anymore. There are huge forces sloshing around now, and you aren't going to be immune from them, no matter HOW loud you turn up your TV. The easy, heady days of the great American rocket ride of postwar America are as over as Leave it to Beaver. Ward Cleaver rule-of-thumbery doesn't cut it anymore.

There are two strands to American thinking. We've just about run out the whole string on ideology. Now let's return to the practical, problem-solving strand. FREE THE WONKS, I say! Power to the Pocket Protectors! --Tom Toles
***
sketchicon_ver1.jpg

s_01202011.gif

By Tom Toles  | January 20, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Scandals  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Carpet bombing
Next: Take heart

Other Syndicated Editorial Cartoons:

Comments

nay

But I wish I had that ear to whisper into !!!

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 20, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

not bi on my side 'sweety' and I certainly am not obtuse...so I guess You are the one who is "outed"...you do know that there is easy access to Daly here do you not?
Why the angst? just say nay if I am wrong.

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Busted?

Or are you still thinking maybe that Daly door at the Post is related to Daly's posts here at the Post's blog?

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 20, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Busted?

which one obtuse or bi polar

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 20, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

right....

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

ouch?

no bert just kidding around !

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 20, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

ouch?
Maybe the rent is too high?
I'm just guessing daly because I don't pay rent.

Busted?

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

MAJOR POLAR issues bert?

are you sure you don't mean MAJOR BI POLAR issues? lol

No bert I am pretty insignificant (while you are obtuse). My mailbox doesn't even have a name let alone a door at the Post, so I know you are just flattering me tonight. Going fishing tomorrow perhaps!! I just stumbled in here reading through various e newspapers and the WaPo had an easy signup. I enjoy Toles funnies but rarely agree with his post. I am amazed by the quantity of quality work he puts out. I read the blog for some months before adding my two cents.

Megamart is not the problem per se.

I would venture that it is more the malling of america and mom and pop cant afford the rent

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 20, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Soo yeah,anyway daly, I was wandering the halls at the Post today and I came across a door with....you guessed it Daly on it!!!
To my surprise, and yet big sigh....any connection there daly??
gee I hope not cuz that would mean we have some MAJOR POLAR issues which need debating and I haven't really seen a good debate on this blog yet!!
Not that I would debate here in the bowl.

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

~~Pretty quiet for a full moon.~~

I so agree daly, 'cept for me! lol.

fyi, "Mom and Pop" sell to Megamarts..it all starts somewhere does it not?

Megamart is not the problem per se.

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Mom and Pop are lost to MegaloMart in all aspects of purchasing. There are still some local stuff and farmers markets, auto repairs etc. Malls have replaced local shops, greater efficiency bert.

Your notation of BMI testing an example of government creep and it will only get worse. No one seems to mind at all. Eventually a cap and trade on calorie credits for fast food or some tax as the stats will show food is destroying the earth.

Pretty quiet for a full moon.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 20, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Yep bert what happened to land of the free and home of the brave.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 20, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

wow dead here today oh well lol...

After thought to jhnnywalkr:

One could also suppose that without the government involved that people selling their product/service would perhaps bring more oversight and quality to the products they are selling? Like, gee, I dunno, back in the day???
I remember when American Made actually, not only existed but, Meant Something! People took pride in their products and services….what happened to that? Actually I do know. But still!!!
If I got sick from something I bought from someone I would ‘spread the word’ and I’m pretty sure business would drop. Pretty sure that person/business would be a bit more careful with the products they want me to purchase from them in the future.
We don’t need government oversight on every aspect in our lives do we?? I think we are capable of being responsible adults again.

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

~~whether or not that is fair, or if it will be effective, but if you say "I want the government to decide what vehicle you drive," that's not really accurate.~~Jwalkr~~

I would not say what you just suggested (chuckle)...I would, however, say that the government is Punishing me like a child. Is that really accurate?

~~ No, that's not at all what I said or anywhere near it. I'm saying most people don't grow their own food and rely on what they buy at the store. They rely on the government to ensure a certain level of safety and quality.~~~Jwalkr

I don't think they are doing such a 'bang up' job there either...a lot of stuff and I mean A LOT of stuff slipping through those government cracks....I suppose maybe there would be a bit more.But the government clearly is not doing it's job in all areas concerning that department!

~~Honestly, to me that just looks like the
CDC trying to gather information anonymously on a group of children for obesity studies.~~~Jwalkr~~

Yes my point...looks nice on the outside.
And I'm sure most people glanced at it read the selling point included and said sure OK no problem...which is IN FACT the Problem!!
Do we need our government spending our tax dollars on something like this???
REALLY?

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh and another thing...I found out recently (yeah I'm a bit slow sometimes) that every animal a human owns must be registered with the government as well!!
No, it isn't just getting a cat or dog liscense (which is also a money maker) but every cow, bird, goat, rabbit, horse, sheep,well you get the picture...

Now the reasoning is because they want to inform people if an outbreak occurs...That's funny. Why you ask??
Glad you did.
I'll tell you why!
#1. It would be the owner of the animals who would send out the 'alarm'.
#2 The media would get wind of it and circulate the outbreak or disease.
#3 We are the last people the government tends to notify.

I know I'm sounding anti G here...I'm not actually....it's just the Intrusion I don't care for.

Do THEY really need to keep record of every owned animal and bird? Gee I wonder if I was suppose to register that Guppy in my fish-tank....damn thing refuses to die....talk about going green...ha...45 gal. tank for one damn fish! A Guppy no less!

Thanks for letting me babble here Toles....break time over : )

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

You are right Jwalkr....I am the exception and happily so.

Now per your comment...are you suggesting that farmers are scarce?
---------
No, that's not at all what I said or anywhere near it. I'm saying most people don't grow their own food and rely on what they buy at the store. They rely on the government to ensure a certain level of safety and quality.
----------
I don't recall anyone saying that? Example maybe??
--------
Today, no. In past comments, yes. Maybe not you, but I've seen that sort of argument more than once.
----------
How 'bout my little posting about government involvement in what....yes, WHAT? why do they need to monitor our kids? Please don't tell me it is for Phy-ed evaluations concerning the school system. I'm not buying into that..
-------
Honestly, to me that just looks like the CDC trying to gather information anonymously on a group of children for obesity studies. I can understand your concern that it might not be as anonymous as they make it out to be and encourage you to ask for more information about it or just opt out of the program. If, as you said, they started this program before you were notified, that's something to pursue with the school because that really is just wrong.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 20, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

It is often used as a dodge to avoid debating on the merits.

For instance, say I think there should be a special tax on SUVs to encourage people not to buy them in the hopes of reducing pollution. Now, you can argue whether or not that is fair, or if it will be effective, but if you say "I want the government to decide what vehicle you drive," that's not really accurate.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 20, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Iv'e got some time and today seems like a good day to talk to myself...

~~~For your gardening thing, I'm guessing you eat out sometimes, and probably don't raise your own cattle and chickens and what have you. Maybe you do, but you're still the exception then.~~~jwalkr.

You are right Jwalkr....I am the exception and happily so.

Now per your comment...are you suggesting that farmers are scarce? I realize that the farming industry has shrunk quiet a bit but am willing to bet, a shot and a beer, that they aren't shrinking away as much as our manufacturing plants are...well at least the one's which are home based and owned in these United States.

~~~ It bothers me when people on the other side of a debate exaggerate my position on the subject, and that's what this feels like, so I'm pointing it out. The best example I can think of from here is the global warming debate. Frequently here deniers will insist that people who want to reduce CO2 emissions want to reduce society to living some kind of hunter-gatherer existence where we make no impact on our environment. ~~~Jwalker~~

I don't recall anyone saying that? Example maybe??

How 'bout my little posting about government involvement in what....yes, WHAT? why do they need to monitor our kids? Please don't tell me it is for Phy-ed evaluations concerning the school system. I'm not buying into that..

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

~~~Well the point I was making is taking your opponent's argument to the extreme is not an honest way to debate an issue.Jwalkr~~

why would it not be honest? If you can't debate the 'extremity' what is the point of the debate?

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Jwalkr. I disagree with your first statement...I as well as many a gardener raise a lot of our own food. Much safer in this day and age don't you think?

As for the rest of your post and double- negatives...
WHAT?

Posted by: bertzel

Well the point I was making is taking your opponent's argument to the extreme is not an honest way to debate an issue. While there are those that cling to the extreme solutions, most fall closer to more reasonable goals. If the rest of my post was confusing, sorry. I see now I did get hung up with a log of nots and nothings, but I still think it said what I meant.

For your gardening thing, I'm guessing you eat out sometimes, and probably don't raise your own cattle and chickens and what have you. Maybe you do, but you're still the exception then. Even with gardening, not everyone has the room or the time or even the desire to grow their own food. Nothing wrong with that, is there?

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 20, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

And,AND, since the topic of big government and education has surfaced;

I recently received a letter from my homegrown school district. Please note: I see two things going on here…one of which I strongly disapprove of. Then too, I disapprove of the “opt out option”. It should be an opt IN option that way in case the form gets misplaced or forgotten it is not automatic participation…..Please read below. thanx....

Your Public School District has been selected to take part in a federal government student Body Mass Index (BMI) assessment funded by the Carol White Physical Education for Progress grant. The BMI test is a quick and easy way to get fitness data to the government from school age students around the country. Every student will have his/her height, weight, birth date, and gender put into a fitness program that calculates a healthy fitness zone score. This data will be sent to the government using ID numbers and not names, to keep student information confidential.
(I’m going to skip some dialogue here for longevity purposes but will post if anyone believes me to purposely leave out pertinent info)
…PEP managers will be collecting baseline fitness data including height, weight, and cardiovascular endurance in the month of December……Later in the spring, each school will re-collect fitness data on our students for a fitness improvement score……..This feedback will be crucial to making changes as we move ahead in the future.
Opt out option
Parents can choose not to have their child’s fitness scores released to the government for the Center for Disease Control National Data Collection Study. All student information will be stored on a District server and kept confidential. To opt out, please sign the form below, and return it to your school’s Physical Education teacher.
Finally, thank you for your support of our programs, our staff, and or our schools. We are fortunate as educators to live in a community that values and supports education.

I left my personal comments out except the ones at the beginning of this post.
Also just received this and it is January, not December so it has already begun…
Things like this lead to questioning of the government involving ‘underlying’ intentions…..just sayin’.

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

On the news out of Buffalo last night, it was revealed that the Buffalo school system has only a 60% HS graduation rate. I don't know what the graduation rate is nationally. But we clearly have no respect for "book-learnin." I have been watching late night TV lately, and it seems that the British school system is superior to ours: an interview with Russell Brand reveals a guy who has a large vocabulary and is familiar with classical literature; Craig Ferguson immediately understood an oblique reference by Dick Cavett to Edward Gibbon's "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." Your average U.S. HS graduate can text, Tweet, use a cell phone, play video games, update their Facebook page. We're doomed.

As far as corporate America taking over the U.S., with the assistance of the GOP and Tea Partyers, we'll soon be able to say: "you broke, you own it." We can bale China and Mexicans all we wan; the problems we face are problems we created for ourselves. And continuing to spend billions of $ per year on wars is not productive.

Posted by: ptgrunner | January 20, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Jwalkr. I disagree with your first statement...I as well as many a gardener raise a lot of our own food. Much safer in this day and age don't you think?

As for the rest of your post and double- negatives...
WHAT?

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

~~ At our local high school (and I assume many others across the country), more and more subjects are taught at a college level. And yet, when students go to university, they take those core courses all over again~~~rudesan

You missed my post...While the high school classes cover a lot more info, college courses are also offered and credited as such. If you pass the course...no do overs.

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

An end to government means moving to a full-time feudal system. (Can't think the deniers really want that).
I agree in general about your sketch. At our local high school (and I assume many others across the country), more and more subjects are taught at a college level. And yet, when students go to university, they take those core courses all over again. Rather than get right into subjects related to their majors. Of course colleges are business, too, if this recent article about law schools is any indication:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=homepage
It's from the New York Times, so some of your readers maybe should read it slow-ly.

Posted by: Rudesan | January 20, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"You don't raise your own food on the family farm or tan your own leather anymore."

I agree with the sentiment you expressed here in your whole post, but I have to take a little exception to this part. It bothers me when people on the other side of a debate exaggerate my position on the subject, and that's what this feels like, so I'm pointing it out. The best example I can think of from here is the global warming debate. Frequently here deniers will insist that people who want to reduce CO2 emissions want to reduce society to living some kind of hunter-gatherer existence where we make no impact on our environment.

That kind of debating tactic is not helpful. In the interest of fairness, I feel I have to point it out here. I may not agree with the so-called "small government" people exactly, but MOST of them don't really want to have NO big government, they're just concerned about where government is and if it is where it belongs. Sure there are fringe nutjobs out there that would love nothing more than no federal government except for maybe the military, just like on the left there's fringe nutjobs that do indeed want to return to nature or some ridiculous junk. They don't represent the vast majority of either side though.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 20, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"Every thing I need to know I learned in
High School...Yep and that INCLUDES the college courses made available to students through same school...

Actually, I do not agree with that statement just pointing out an extention of curricula available to high school students.

Posted by: bertzel | January 20, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Tom Toles cartoon on the lobbyist needing a crowbar is half right. He missed the bureacrat wrapped even tighter. Power delegated is not easily surrendured.

Posted by: bwert1 | January 20, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Empirical?

I prefer to think I am pragmatic and favor a USA government that can provide the research we need for our transition off oil to other fuels and let our native American Genius provide the methods. If it works, we need it.

Too much this "kill the beast" means killing the goose that provided the research for computers, the Internet and our other technical tools that have us in a good position now. Moving into an age of abundance will take some more work.

But if the USA provides the technology we can own the next Century, too.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | January 20, 2011 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Maybe if colleges were not spending so much time and tax payer money trying to cover up manmade global warming science fraud they could do a better job educating

Posted by: billybeer6 | January 20, 2011 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Globalization as we know it exists entirely due to political intervention to smash labor & subsidize the expansion of transnational corporations. Acknowledge that, and your attempt at placing Big Government & Big Business as polar opposites falls flat.

They're in cahoots. That's the problem.

Posted by: toiletminded | January 19, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Toles…the point you are missing or maybe not, is that empiricism Does exist for Some who choose to be left alone and live a(somewhat) free life.
And, not all temperamentally inclined to study policy detail , move to Washington. And to make learnin a bit more apropos…put an ‘ at the end…learnin’…just sayin’…
People also have the desire/power to turn OFF that nice hd flatscreen tv and listen to the music now and then.
Nice Bright full moon out there this eve…chuckle.

Posted by: bertzel | January 19, 2011 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I had read Jeffrey Leonard's piece on Friday and really forgot about the Harry Reid assurance noted in the article that the Cap and Trade bill is dead. It is dead because Obama has placed regulation of CO2 in the hands of the EPA and out of our elected representatives hands, so the experiment starts anyway.

Perhaps this explains Toles recent new found respect for Wonks. Where is the press? shh don't say anything.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

the reality meter says.......each one has a liberal wrapped around it and students don't learn anything in

college because they are getting a liberal indoctrination .......no wonder there are so many regulations

and nothing is learned in college

Posted by: jornolibist | January 19, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Funny Cartoon Toles and I agree with your post. Time for a new plan for action.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Repost
~~~Maybe while eliminating Energy subsidies we can cut the EPA.
Posted by: dalyplanet |~~~

Which one?-)

Posted by: bertzel | January 19, 2011

My point here is, subsidies provide a form of direction from government for various industries, energy being the current topic. Ethanol energy subsidies are a particularly bad subsidy as it promotes using food for fuel, and rising grain prices precipitated a major gas price increase in 2008 as major players in ethanol tried to hedge their position with gasoline when faced with rising corn prices and no profits even with the subsidy. Government went off poorly informed and created an expensive but useless monster, but I digress.

Eliminating all energy subsidies as proposed in Toles link and allowing the market to determine the price is probably a good thing. The problem is the EPA is gaining control of combustion gas and it's regulation. So ending subsidies but increasing regulation still leaves the government controlling the direction of energy development. The market ends up distorted by government either way.

The overall point here is that the direction from carrot to stick was not clearly stated in Jeffrey Leonard's piece. The US is poised to undertake a massive experiment in combustion gas management. redhead1990 gave a decent argument for implementation but I am not convinced it is valid. The US will bear the cost of R&D and implementation while China and others will wait 25 years to see if it works or was even necessary. This experiment needs better agreement and more discussion prior to implementation. Us little people need to understand what may happen and what will happen so we can tell our representatives in Congress.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 19, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company