How dare President Obama play golf when stuff is happening in the world!

How could he even THINK of taking a vacation when ISIS is beheading Americans and Iraq and Afghanistan are in turmoil and Israel and the Palestinians are at war and Russia is behaving badly?

You don’t see Republicans in Congress taking a vacation, do you? Well, okay, turns out Congress is on vacation, too, but since it doesn’t actually do anything those days there isn’t any discernible difference from when it’s in session, except that the House hasn’t voted to repeal Obamacare this week.

But back to the subject at hand: what if something really bad happens while Obama’s on the golf course, out of contact with everyone except all his advisors, his cabinet, our allies, the Joint Chiefs and the guy who carries the briefcase? It could be a catastrophe! ISIS might behead another journalist! Iraq and Afghanistan might explode! Russia might invade another country! Israel and the Palestinians might keep fighting!

I know what you’re thinking. These things happened when Obama was sitting at his desk in the White House, too, wearing a suit and tie instead of a golf shirt. But there’s a vitally important difference. He doesn’t look very presidential in a golf cart, and, fair or not, it’s all about image.

Do we really want the president to look rested and ready to handle the challenges of the day after a welcome few hours of recreation,  or do we want an exhausted, beleaguered chief executive who’s spends all his waking hours holed up in the situation room

The President of the United States, the head of the most powerful nation on earth (we keep saying that about ourselves, even if it might not actually be true anymore) needs to LOOK like he’s fully engaged and in charge, even if there’s absolutely no difference in his ability to make decisions or take action whether he’s in the Oval Office or at Camp David.

Remember when Dubya was criticized for playing golf during his presidency, and had the grace and the courage to give it up until his term was over? Saved his legacy, right?

So, Mr. President, no more golf until the world settles down, okay?

A nation desperate for leadership needs you to look really, really presidential all the time, even if we’ve already tuned you out and are spending most of our time wondering who’s going to challenge Hillary in 2016.




Freshly Squeezed 8/24/14


Ah, the challenge of dealing with climate change. Can anything any one person does make any difference at all? I can reduce my carbon footprint to zero, with what global result? Zip. On the other hand, if I set an example, and others do the same–if everyone does something–there will be an impact, won’t there? But will it be enough? If the US finally curbs its outsized appetite for dirty energy but China and India do nothing, will it matter? This kind of thinking makes my head hurt. Might as well play golf and worry about it later.

Freshly Squeezed 8/23/14


The last in the series of Sam’s (and my) indulgence in midlife (mine would be a tad later) introspection. This one may be truer to my psychic makeup than the previous ones. I grew up on superhero comics, and I was infatuated as a kid by the art of cartooning because that world was more real and vibrant to me than the drab one I happened to inhabit. I was lucky enough to make a living drawing those silly pictures, but I never quite gave up the impossible dream of living in the world on the other side of the pen.

Americans Stunned that Race Still an Issue

Americans this morning expressed shock and disbelief over the continuing racial unrest in Ferguson, MO.

“I thought we were all done with that,” said Melanie P. Granville, interviewed at her home in Tuscaloosa, AL.

“Racial tension? Isn’t that a band?” asked Joseph Warbler, of Atlanta, GA.

People from all parts of the country were shaken by the angry demonstrations and the heavy-handed police response after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager shot by an unidentified policeman in Ferguson.

“I honestly thought we were living in a post-racial era,” lamented Scott Pleasantry, a Memphis, TN , gas station attendant. “I mean, we have a black president, and you never hear that even being brought up. Everyone’s just fine with that, right?”

Tasha Hartman of Chicago, IL, remarked, “Has anyone ever seen such an excessive show of force by police? It’s just weird.”

The chaos in Ferguson was the topic of discussion among a group sitting at a lunch counter in Selma, AL.

“I don’t get it. You just don’t hear about police anywhere having run-ins with minorities,” a young man who identified himself as John said. “Maybe once and a while in New York, but not in the  South.”

“Even in New York, I’m sure that flap about Barney’s profiling black customers was just an aberration.”

“Sure, there’s some talk about voter ID laws being aimed at suppressing minority voting and stuff, but that’s pretty much a thing of the past, right?” Jane added.

“When was the last time a state like Florida gerrymandered a bunch of majority white districts?” asked George. “It’s unheard of today.”

“And the moves in Congress to cut off welfare and food stamps and unemployment insurance, kill Obamacare and not raise the minimum wage, that’s just all about balancing the budget. None of those have any racial impact, do they?”

“Of course not,” Phil replied. “And it’s not like the justice system fills the prisons with blacks and hispanics these days. We’ve moved past that, haven’t we?”

“And we’re no longer weird about immigration, either,” Jane added. Didn’t the House just agree it’s actually good for the country to let kids fleeing drug gangs in South America to start a new life here?”

“And of course they want to come here, where people are judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin, where it’s perfectly safe to be black or brown.” agreed John.

“Who would have dreamed that what’s going on in Ferguson could happen in 21st Century America?”





Bergdahl Blues

Critics of the Obama administration today bitterly objected to the military’s investigation of the capture and imprisonment of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban.

“Allowing Bergdahl to tell his story is an outrage,” a spokesman for HATO (Haters of All Things Obama) said  Wednesday. “We already know all we need to know,”

The release of Sgt, Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban detainees in May created a brief political firestorm, with opponents of the administration and even some members  of his unit accusing Bergdahl of deserting and Obama of paying too high a ransom for someone they considered to be a traitor.

According to Eugene Fidell, one of Bergdahl’s lawyers, Sgt. Bergdahl has been open and cooperative with the investigation.

“That just proves how devious the man is,” the spokesman for HATO said. “He’s had five years to perfect his story. If he didn’t have anything to hide, would he be this willing to spin his web of deceit? It will be a sad day if his story holds together and people come to believe that he isn’t who we say he is.

“We rushed to judgement in May based on the very sincere belief that anything we accuse Obama of must be true because we hate him so much, and nothing we’ve heard or seen since has changed our minds.  And at this late date we certainly don’t expect anything Bergdahl says, no matter how true it may seem to unbiased observers, to move us in any way.

“Even if they decide he’s innocent and return him to active duty, it will just be further proof of how much Obama has corrupted this country’s once  great military.

“We made up our minds a long time ago. The facts won’t change that.”



Terrorists Condemn Botched Execution

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) today denounced the United States for the bungled execution of a condemned inmate in Arizona.

The Islamic extremist group, better known by the acronym ISIS, objected in strident terms to the “unspeakably cruel, inhumane treatment” of Joseph Randolph Wood, who reportedly gasped and snorted for more than and hour and a half before being pronounced dead.

Arizona is one of a number of states that have struggled in recent years to acquire the combination of lethal drugs used in administering the death penalty after European suppliers refused to allow the use of their products to put prisoners to death.

Wood joins several others in recent years whose executions were botched. In Ohio, a man gasped for 25 minutes before dying after being injected with the same drugs used in Arizona. In Oklahoma, a convicted killer writhed in pain after a needle became dislodged, ultimately dying of a heart attack as the execution was halted.

A black-clad spokesman for ISIS said, “Let me be clear. We have nothing against executions. We’ve kill by the thousands, but we do it humanely, shooting people with machine guns, slashing throats, even bombing crowded public squares and buildings, but we don’t have a policy of letting our victims linger in anguish. We may be terrorists, but we’re not monsters.

“We put the infidels on trial and kill them the same day. Quick, clean, merciful.”

“Frankly, we’re shocked by the barbaric treatment of prisoners in America. You keep them on death row for years, for decades, filling them with false hope, allowing them to file futile appeals before finally putting them to death, and even then you force them to die in prolonged agony.

“How can people who do such things call themselves civilized?”

The online home of editorial cartoonist, writer and analyst Ed Stein.