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Republican roadblock

By Tom Toles

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The long and the short of it

I'm probably going to make all my journalist friends hate me, but the best story I read over the weekend was two sentences long. I don't think there are as many two-sentence stories in actual paper newspapers as there used to be, and there probably aren't as many as there should be. Papers are shrinking in size, and the lament has been that serious, long-form journalism will suffer, and that is no doubt true. But let's face it: Long-form journalism has often been long formless journalism, with the number of words becoming disconnected from the amount of information being delivered.

A lot of stories have essentially two sentences worth of information, and I say take advantage of that. This was one of them. "Pumpkin launched more than a mile." I am not a huge fan of vegetable-launching activities in general, but a MILE! With compressed air. I thought about that all day. That's a LONG WAY to hurl a pumpkin, and worthy of some reflection. The paper version of The Post edited the story down to two sentences and still got the point across, so score one for the old-line media. But what I'm talking about is not really about thrown food or compressed air, it's about compressed information. More like this, please. --Tom Toles
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By Tom Toles  | September 14, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  GOP, Obama White House  
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Comments

In "Naked Lunch" William S. Burroughs tells the tail of a man who taught his rear orifice to speak. People think this is funny and the man starts using his trick to put on shows. But slowly the rear orifice gains more and more power and control. In the end it takes over and the man's month seals shut.

Posted by: mike_midwest | September 15, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Ayers WAS a radical leftist when he was in college. No argument there. None. The point is that, those things happened more than 40 years ago and Ayers has pretty obviously renounced the lifestyle of the bomb-throwing anarchist and become a productive (if you consider a $49 million dollar grant for school reform productive) member of society. Should he and everyone who has ever committed a crime be forever shunned by society for crimes committed and (since he is a free man) presumably paid for?

"Treasonous?" Oh, yes, by all means. Anybody and everybody who embraces a different political philosophy than yours is guilty of treason. And everybody who embraces a different political philosophy than mine, too.
What about the President's?

Is it traitorous for an American to embrace a political philosophy different than that of the President of the United States of America? Nope. Precisely because this is America.
Unless your name is Bill Ayers, and it happened 40 years ago, and the names were changed. Right? Right??

Posted by: jonroesler | September 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Dear bushidollar, your position is the best argument why we have a separation of Church and State in this Country. Thank you for ignoring facts.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 14, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 14, 2010 6:12 PM
"Dear jonroesler, by all means disregard the fact that Bill Ayers was the head of the Weather Underground, which called itself a communist revolutionary group. Oh, and disregard the fact that Ayers and that group bombed public buildings in the United States in the 1960's and 1970's. It is always so warm and fuzzy to have a President who calls Bill Ayers friend. The Left pardons Ku Klux Klan members such as the late Senator Byrd, treasonous bomb throwers such as Ayers, and any liberal that uses racial slurs. Hypocrites."

Once again bobbo2 reveals his ignorance and utter cluelessness. This comes straight out of the "good book".

Matthew 6:14-15
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

So the proper term for Obama and others that forgive their trespassers is "Christian", but you already knew that, right?

Posted by: bushidollar | September 14, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Dear jonroesler, by all means disregard the fact that Bill Ayers was the head of the Weather Underground, which called itself a communist revolutionary group. Oh, and disregard the fact that Ayers and that group bombed public buildings in the United States in the 1960's and 1970's. It is always so warm and fuzzy to have a President who calls Bill Ayers friend. The Left pardons Ku Klux Klan members such as the late Senator Byrd, treasonous bomb throwers such as Ayers, and any liberal that uses racial slurs. Hypocrites.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 14, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

QuiteAlarmed, I don't know what sort of point you're trying to make, but you're certainly not going to make it by relying on mere facts. Facts are boring, especially well-researched ones, especially when they demonstrate the veracity of what you say.

Bobbo2, according to the Chicago Tribune (as refereneced in Wikipedia), Ayers worked with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley in shaping the city's school reform program,[42] and was one of three co-authors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge grant proposal that in 1995 won $49.2 million over five years for public school reform.
Is Chicago's Mayor Daley also a "radical Leftist?"
Never mind. I think I know what your answer to that will be.
That Ayers thing didn't have legs during the campaign, and it doesn't have legs now. It's really time to let go of the Bill Ayers thing. Ayers has.

Posted by: jonroesler | September 14, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by DwightColins: "yet it is true..."

And yet, when asked to provide evidence of the supposed far left polices, bobbo2 failed. (See below.) No other conservative poster has stepped into the breach.

Perhaps that's because President Obama's policies are actually center-right. Consider the President's signature legislation: health care reform. Instead of getting the single-payer system that progressives favor, or even the public option that progressives accepted as a compromise, we got a private insurance system driven by an individual mandate originally proposed by conservatives. Consider his other signature legislation: the Stimulus. It was only half the size required by Keynesian models and 42 percent of that was tax cuts. Consider national security: The Obama administration has failed to close Guantanamo Bay, protected CIA torturers and even continued extraordinary rendition. The list of center-right policies from this Administration goes on and on.

Haven't you stopped to wonder why there's so little enthusiasm among progressives for this coming election? I can assure you that its not because progressives think this Administration has governed from too far to the left. Its because we turned out in 2008, and our candidates won the Presidency, won huge margins in both the House and Senate, and in return we got ... center-right policies.

Can you say "meh"?

Posted by: QuiteAlarmed | September 14, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Tom,

You and Eugene Robinson are the only reason I even bother to look at the WP website anymore. What are the editors thinking -- bringing all those conservative opinion writers on board? I used to love the WP--now I can barely tolerate it. If they lose you and Eugene, I'll delete the WP from my bookmarks. Thank you for your intelligent commentary--keep up the good work.

Posted by: skeptic15 | September 14, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Tom, the Repubs are ahead of you, they have figured out how to compress stupidity into two words, "conservative policies", "Tea party", "grizzly mommas", or "Sarah Palin". Take your pick, either are as stupid as stupid does.

Posted by: bushidollar | September 14, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Good comment on journalism Tom. Personally, BBC World News and PBS are about the best sources for TV news that seem not to present everything in the "News Alert" and ratings-grabbing fashion. I personally love the way BBC World News ends. No big fanfare...just, "That's the news. Goodbye." in a dry and lilting British accent. Kind of makes me chuckle every time they say it.

As far as print goes, it's hard to find a print source or internet source that isn't esconced in some bias of some sort, even if undeserved. Not that there aren't good sources. I do surf some national and international internet sources (I'm here, right?), and also my local newspaper's site. And I like to look at Factcheck.org and FAIR.org too, as they often do a good job of clarifying stories that have been put out there, and often point out errors from sources that I like...which is a good thing.

My advice to everyone is to turn off 24/7 news cycle cable news channels (where everything is breaking news!!), and watch two things...BBC World News, and The News Hour on PBS. You'll find that you'll still be informed, but I'm betting that your heart rate and blood pressure will drop a bit.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | September 14, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Like most of Tom's cartoons, this is complete rubbish. The idea that Obama is "far center" is absurd. He's certainly the most leftist president we've ever had, and far outside the mainstream.
Posted by: JamesQ | September 13, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse
Saying something over and over again may unfortunately make people believe it, but it doesn't make it true.
Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 14, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse"

yet it is true...
imagine that...

Posted by: DwightCollins | September 14, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Loved It!

There's no more that needs to said.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | September 14, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

To the posters below: JamesQ, bobbo2, sold2u, bignoisylawnmower,
rjpal, et al.

"Bleat, bleat, bleat"- yes we hear you, please, try not to get your wool all over the road, avoid the oncoming traffic.

Posted by: parapraxis | September 14, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"Tea-totaled"? Well, someone is going to be totalled in November, but somehow I doubt it is the Republicans or even the Tea party.

Just wishful thinking on your part.

To be sure, the Tea party knows little about governing at the national level and they may need to talk to other Republicans, or, on occasion to pro-life Democrats (they exist you know?).

But if they have to they probably will and the US will do just fine.

Posted by: rjpal | September 14, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Actually,... I must agree with you on this one. I would go on further to say that what is supposed to be real journalism has degenerated largely into the dissemination of biased propaganda.... there is little, if any, "fact reporting", which is what a true journalist should be doing. Period.
We do sometimes get two or three sentences of "fact" (that is, what happened), followed by 20 sentences of rationalization, projection, editorial rhetoric, or excuse making, with the goal of shaping the readers attitude (that is, what to think about it). AND, generally the characterizations go....right-wing/Republican=evil, rich, white... Democrat=good,compassionate,victim, minority/little-guy..... The dishonesty in that alone has turned off quite a few folks, who do not subscribe to the " believe me, not your own lying eyes" attitude of many of todays "journalists".
And they all wonder why readership and viewership is down???

Posted by: Shrimper | September 14, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Ha, ha, the morning comics at their finest: )

bobbo2 you beat me to my word of choice concerning Toles' story line...oh well.

Toles, do people always do what you ask? Cuz I for one usually don't follow the 'herd'. Then again you do make a good point. I tend to 'glaze' over the mile long comments and only pick out a phrase or two that catches my eye.
I am trying really hard to make this go on and on and on but, alas, I am not one to run at the mouth....
Happy medium all.

Posted by: bertzel | September 14, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Like most of Tom's cartoons, this is complete rubbish. The idea that Obama is "far center" is absurd. He's certainly the most leftist president we've ever had, and far outside the mainstream.

Posted by: JamesQ | September 13, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Saying something over and over again may unfortunately make people believe it, but it doesn't make it true.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 14, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I suspect TT is holding Twitter stock.

Posted by: HumanistPatriot | September 14, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Sad Tom couldn't pay homage (keeping it short) by doing the same. :-)

Posted by: TheBigPicture1 | September 14, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

When given the choice between quantity vs. quality, I'll always land on the side of quality.

Sadly, quality is lacking in the media today. Stories are poorly written and obviously biased. What are journalism programs coming to?

Posted by: amethystmarbles | September 14, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Two sentences are OK, I suppose. But doesn't this "compressed information" eventually lead to information via bumper stickers? Or sit-com one liners?
Isn't that close to what we have now, anyway?
Alas.

Posted by: GeneTouchet | September 14, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Dear GaryEMasters, why don't you examine some of President Obama's friends. Start with Bill Ayers.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 14, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

" He's certainly the most leftist president we've ever had, and far outside the mainstream."

You know I read this a lot. But I see no evidence. Never.

Can you help me out on this one?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 14, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

The evidence of most far left or far right expeditions are the survivors who are still dazed by their impact with reality. Quick education is never painless. Or easy.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 14, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Dear bignoisylawnmower, Touche'.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 13, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

At least a young woman didn't drown as the driver ran away from the scene.

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | September 13, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Ironically Tom's vantage point is to the right of the far right.

Posted by: sold2u | September 13, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

If the November elections are at the end of the road in your cartoon Mr. Toles than I would say that the Republicans are firmly in the lane and on their way. What we can't see is the Far Left side of the road. That would be where the car carrying the Donkey would be careening off a cliff or hitting the tree of reality.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 13, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Like most of Tom's cartoons, this is complete rubbish. The idea that Obama is "far center" is absurd. He's certainly the most leftist president we've ever had, and far outside the mainstream.

Just once it would be nice to see Tom try something balanced--like attacking Harry "This War is Lost" Reid, or John "It takes a long time to control the people" Dingle.

I usually ignore Toles' leftist nonsense, but today I just couldn't avoid it.

Posted by: JamesQ | September 13, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

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