Favorite film Fridays: Starts Monday.
Invasion of the intelligence snatchers: How did the human race get this far? We bluntly posed this incomparable question as we gazed on this cartoon in this mornings Washington Post. The cartoon, by a badly frightened Drew Sheneman, originally appeared in yesterdays Newark Star-Ledger.
This cartoon was so insightful the Post went elsewhere to get it.
The cartoon pictures a giant hog which bears the name EARMARKS. Shenemans text describes the hog as another pet for the White House. Its considerably larger than President Obama, who is pictured saying this: I hope he doesnt eat the dog.
Unless were using math from Neptune, theres little chance of that. As we looked at Shenemans portrait, we thought of the high-profile spending measures which have recently occurred:
Recent, high-profile spending measures:
Stimulus package: $787 billion
TARP: $700 billion
Measure to complete current fiscal year: $410 billion
Those high-profile spending measures total nearly $2 trillion. By way of contrast, the EARMARKS which have Sheneman frightened total $7.7 billion. (No one has made the slightest attempt to show how much of that is wasteful.) But guess what? Trillions are much larger than billions! In fact, those EARMARKS represent roughly one two hundred and fiftieth of the total spending in these high-profiles measures. That amounts to one quarter of one percentone dollar of every 250.
But to Sheneman, these EARMARKS are larger than human life. They may swallow the White House itself.
The bizarre obsession with those earmarks surfaced at Obama and McCains first debate. The financial world had just melted down. But McCain went onand on, and onabout those troubling earmarks.
Six months later, Sheneman still cant focusand the Post puts his cartoon at the top of the pile. It appears above the fold of the op-ed page in the papers hard-copy edition. Official Washington is urged to focus on those huge earmarks again.
Can human beings reason at all? Under present circumstances, worrying about these minuscule marks is like driving five miles back down the road because you may have spotted a quarter.
We recently watched the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. As we watched, we asked an incomparable question: Are we so sure that space invaders arent running our discourse right now? This morning, we asked one final question, gazing on Shenemans work: How did we ever get this far if weve always reasoned like that?