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McChrystal clear

By Tom Toles

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Animal show and tell

The National Pork Board is not an umbrella organization of Washington lobbyists. They represent the actual MEAT kind of pork, though they probably get a federal subsidy of some kind, and if they don't, well, they don't know how the game is played. But speaking about their not knowing about games, they recently issued a cease-and-desist order against an ad that claimed its canned unicorn meat was "the new white meat." It was a satirical ad on ThinkGeek. Can the world get any stranger? I bet it can.

The ad said that unicorn meat is an excellent source of sparkles (nice!) but went on to divulge that the unicorns they use are old ones. I don't see how you get the best sparkles from old unicorns. Which leads me to my weak segue of the day.

Doesn't the Internet seem OLD now, somehow? I don't mean obsolete or used up, but it occurred to me within the last year that the sparkle was gone. It is entering or has entered the zone of just another mass of infrastructure. The shimmering sense of unlimited possibilities has given way to the realization that it's still just people in there. Technology is the hare, and the plodding reality of actual humans is the tortoise. We know who wins eventually. Not unicorns. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | June 24, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Afghanistan  
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Posted by: tradeshoes04 | June 24, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

@antibogotes

There have been no shortage of successful counter insurgencies. Naming the two most famous failures does not even begin to make an argument. Look in to the Philippines, Peru, El Salvador, Northern Ireland or most recently Sri Lanka to name a few. I am not saying that I think the one we are involved in is a good idea.

Posted by: jmcdavisum | June 24, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@antibogotes

There have been no shortage of successful counter insurgencies. Naming the two most famous failures does not even begin to make an argument. Look in to the Philipines, Peru, El Salvador, Northern Ireland or most recently Sri lanka to name a few. I am not saying that I think the one we are involved in is a good idea.

Posted by: jmcdavisum | June 24, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

McSparkle out

Posted by: vacarollm | June 24, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

McChrystal is significant only if you can name a successful counter-insurgency campaign. Hint: Algeria and Vietnam, the standard textbook examples, count only as Epic "corn flakes on fire" Failures.

More importantly, I know where the * sparkles * went. The InterWeb is not quite 20 years old, and the text-only Internet goes back to the 1960s. In this country. However there are billions of people not on either, not even on dial-up. (Remember when that was all * sparkly * ?)

My friends and I in One Laptop Per Child and connected organizations, including Nicholas Negropponte, Alan Kay, Walter Bender, and so on have delivered * sparkles * to more than two million children and their families and communities all around the world, and we aim to do the same for the rest of the billion or so children etc. in this world. One critical reason why this will work, in spite of many obstacles, is that netbook computers like the * OLPC XO * now cost less than printed textbooks. We are well started on replacing the textbooks with no-cost software and digital media. This will make the changeover a no-brainer for schools and governments within a few years. (And a good thing, too. "First God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made school boards."--Mark Twain)

The rest of the essential * sparkles *, including locally generated renewable energy, wireless broadband Internet, and microfinance, are also coming along. Given those, the kids can generate endless * sparkles * of their own in health, environment, and all the rest. Of course these * sparkly * programs could all benefit from more attention and even some funding. You can read about my version of the plan at http://www.earthtreasury.org/ .

The best parts for me are getting to play with teh bestest * toyz *, and getting to play uncle to a billion children. You want * sparkles *? Join the fun!

**********************************************

PS McChrystal said not long ago that he was planning to ask Congress for a billion dollars or so for OLPC programs in Afghanistan. John McCain approves. But only for counter-insurgency, not for no Liberal Democrat-type * sparkles *. ^_^

Posted by: Antibogotes | June 24, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Two words:

Losers quit.

Posted by: gary4books | June 23, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------

Quit what?

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | June 24, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I think our President is intimidated by the military. Or else we would not even be in Afghanistan with more troops. The longer we stay there the more enemies we generate. Of course unless we pay them off. Once the money is gone their attitudes will just change back against US.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH
--------
The problem lies in the fact that you have to deal with your predecessor's problem to fix what was broken. Like the saying goes "be damned if you do , be damned if you don't."

Posted by: beeker25 | June 24, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Tom, we all know McChrystal had to go. Now the question is how did the command structure get so fractured. Any insight there?

Also, I would like to request - at some point in the future - a drawing or poster of your "nanny-state stormtrooper". This will be for me to put up on the back of my front door in case of an unannounced visit. That way I won't have to ask them for ID.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: gowen1 | June 24, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I love the way your mind works and how you use the little asides in the corner to pose a riddle or deliver a punchline. :D

Posted by: christinecovelli | June 24, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

When Charley Brown listens to his teacher, all he hears is noise. Same here. All Mr. Toles sees is a maze of points. Not the plan's fault. That is just not his area to understand.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 24, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

That's your best cartoon yet, certainly reflects the state of confusion. The two words are

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Bm0cWN2h4&feature=related

Posted by: fromthecheapseats | June 24, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Tom,

I cannot believe you blew your top in the face of the "Right Wing Chatter Torture." You had to have seen it coming, right?

I mean, it's pretty much a one trick pony... "repetition of lies, repetition of lies, repetition of lies" OH, sorry, two tricks. I almost forgot the "framing" prowess. "Undocumented Worker," "Collateral Damage," "Tax Relief," "Welfare Queens," "Axis of Evil," and so on and so on.

Don't let them draw the darkness into your heart, because once you become as fearful, knee-jerk, and parroting as they are, we have already lost you.

Right wingers like to beat the drums of war while hiding in their alarm-protected homes. Right wingers like to exploit the sacrifices of actual heroes for their political gain. Right wingers like to name political action groups AFTER the ideas/entities they are charged with destroying (Like The Committee For Free Speech whose purpose is to censor literature).

Most of all, Right Wingers ARE insane, they often perceive insults where none exist and they often lash out at complete strangers.

Especially online.

Because Right Wingers are cowards, first and foremost. That's why they need guns. They can't fight due to growing up in well-protected suburbs and not inner-city hoods. Their Daddies fought their battles for them. That's why they love St. Ronnie the Fraud... Because their Daddies told them to. Because they were just as ignorant and ill-informed as their moronic sons are today. Genetically, they are weak. That's why they like to rely on "military" and "law enforcement" instead of taking care of problems like men.

Ever notice, Right Wingers hate big government... except when it comes to Police and Military? Because they are cowards. They are fearful. Because they are weak. So, don't let them bother you. Your "thinking" is a threat to their repetition of lies.

So, point is: Don't stop.

Posted by: Thinker_ | June 24, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

For me the thing that has taken the sparkle out of the Internet is the ads. They interfere with my reading of the information I am looking for.

In a better world, our government would be subsidizing some of the informative sources instead of subsidizing the war machine.

Posted by: dotellen | June 24, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

I really do not think General McChrystal even cares. I am sure he will be a big Hero to many in the military ranks. I think our President is intimidated by the military. Or else we would not even be in Afghanistan with more troops. The longer we stay there the more enemies we generate. Of course unless we pay them off. Once the money is gone their attitudes will just change back against US.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | June 24, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles I enjoyed your McChrystal cartoon. Your chart and the President's speech outside the White House had the same omission. Defeat the Taliban and al qaeda. President Obama did not mention the defeat of either the Taliban or al qaeda. That is the mission. That is the goal. To win we must defeat both of these evil organizations. Oh, and the internet does have marvelous possibilities. It is the best educational device a kid could have. But the saying garbage in garbage out is true. For the internet to be all it can be people should shun the trash. But not with Government interference. Unicorns? Can you make gasoline out of them?

Posted by: bobbo2 | June 23, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I love how pork suing unicorn is totally the issue of the day! This case is awesome on so many levels (but my bets are on unicorn winning).

As for the internet seeming old--well, yes. But on the other hand, I don't think technology has lost its sparkle. Personally, I love living in The Future. Every day I marvel at how high my standard of living is, and I'm a poor grad student who makes half of what the federal poverty line is. But somehow I can access infinite entertainment (internet), chat freely with family and friends across the country (internet again), control the temperature in my apartment at will, request food of infinite nationalities according to my cravings at any given moment, and so many other wonderful things. I look out my window and watch the cars and trains go by and I marvel at how The Future allows people to travel at 70 mph while sitting down. Faster if you fly. I marvel at how I will travel about 2,000 miles on Friday. No, not all of Friday. Just Friday evening. And I marvel at how I booked that ticket without seeing a single human, nor exchanging a single dollar of tangible money.

I have so much power at my fingertips, it makes unicorns look downright drab. And I'm just an ordinary citizen. Yes, the internet seems old--how far has digital technology come from the archaic dial-up and the primitive web designs of two decades ago!--but it is still magical and it still sparkles like those old unicorns, Mr. Toles. It has been observed that science sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. We are all of us magicians and sorcerers in the 21st century! If you cannot find a way to be as excited about that each day as you are about unicorn meat as a source of sparkles, then I pity you and I hope you will find your child-like awe soon. Apparently the Pork Board still has enough of it to believe in unicorns!

Posted by: whiteflame128 | June 23, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Two words:

Losers quit.

Posted by: gary4books | June 23, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Tom, you must be joking. Every time I wonder what the lyrics are to a song, I jump on the Google machine and PRESTO!! There they are. In an instant. Right there in front of me. It's like a magic trick.

Back in the day I'd ask everyone if they knew the lyrics that were bothering me, it would take days and days and eventually I'd forget that I even cared.

I love having a world of information at my fingertips and seconds away. We are The Jetsons and it's awesome.

Posted by: Kevin71707 | June 23, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Hilarious McChrystal cartoon. Thanks.

Posted by: martymar123 | June 23, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

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