The U.S.Constitution is like an instruction manual
for the Federal Government. Who reads manuals
when you can poke at the buttons and see what
happens? Congress   
doesn't read the manual. Guided by the
principle,"if it feels good, do it", Congress does
what it likes. Lawyers can later argue   that the
laws are constitutional, which shouldn't be hard,
since Article I says that Congress can tax, regulate
commerce, and promote the general welfare.
What's NOT
constitutional? But then, the ninth and tenth
amendments hint that there are some limits to
Federal power. Why are
those in the constitution?
Hmmm. Maybe they
should be
in there two or three times.
Re-run from July 26, 2010
Re-run from September 13, 2010
Re-run from January 31, 2010
Freshman Senator Rand Paul complained  
in an article that senators have at best just  
hours to read very large bills before they
are expected to vote on them. You can
imagine the condescending smiles of the
veteran Senators, thinking, "he'll get over
it when he grows up". Bills are too large,
and there are too many of them, because
Congress tries to do too much. As Nancy
Pelosi famously said of the 2000 page
Obamacare law, "You'll have to pass it to
find out what's in it". I hate to mention
this, but that's what my doctor said about
my stool sample.  

Think about a polluted water supply, or   
airborne pathogens. Now those ARE true
public health problems. You don't brush
your teeth, you eat unhealthily, you
smoke...those things are YOUR health
problems. Or they used to be. When the
government pays for health care, it's all
"public health." YOU become the
Carbon credits! You may have an air conditioned
mansion the size of Versailles palace, and you skitter
about the globe in a private jet. You still get to wear
your "Green Achievement" merit badge because you
carbon credits. What is done with the money
from these credits? Usually, it's used to plant trees,
which store carbon. But trees are like broccoli with
a longer life cycle.

So much for private jets, what about elevators!
They use energy too, and contribute to CO2 . Better
just walk up the stairs. Wait! Heavy breathing will
more than double your own CO2 emissions!
Perhaps you shouldn't do anything until you get an
OK from the EPA. Or.... is that the point?
Re-run from January 24, 2011
Could the E.P.A. really regulate
body odor? Probably yes; It's not
clear that there are any limits to
E.P.A. powers. But will they? Not as
long as they have bigger fish to fry.
Like responsible fishermen who
catch and release the small fish, the
E.P.A. will go after bigger "fish" for
now, saving the lesser ones for later.
It's the principle of "sustainable
Re-run from February 28, 2011
(click cartoons to enlarge)
Re-run from April 18, 2011
It was strange. One morning, about 3 years ago, we
woke up to discover that the adjective "Liberal" was
gone, replaced by "Progressive". Jargon Central must
have issued a memo overnight. News reports and
politicians all fell into lock-step compliance. It was like
Trotsky, after his fall, being airbrushed out of all
Communist Party photos. Libertarians had long chaffed
at the preemption of the word "Liberal" by the welfare
statists and socialists. They have used the awkward term
"Classical Liberal" to indicate their roots in the
enlightenment in- spired free market/free trade/individual
liberty ideas of 18th and 19th century liberalism.  
Now that the terminology has changed... what else has?  
This cartoon introduced Senator
Medler's young intern, Lemur. There is
no doubt that discourse on public affairs
is larded with platitudes and bromides
that discourage careful thinking. Forget
Obama's "YES WE CAN!". Instead,
let's admit, "YES WE CANT". *

*"Cant" is defined, of course, as
"tedious, moralizing jargon".
Re-run from August 16, 2010
Re-run from April 4, 2011
Kitchen, living room, bathroom...
which room in the house really  
doesn't matter, does it? If you love
the regulation, it can even apply to
the broom closet.
(Hey - That makes me think of
some interesting uses for a broom
Ironically, those who treat
McMansion dwellers with
derision are often the same
people who want to see the
entire population herded
into car-less cities, living in
McFlats, all commuting to
their public sector McJobs
on look-alike McBicycles.  
Re-run from September 26, 2011
No anti-poverty bureau has ever
had a "Mission Accomplished"
celebration, and then closed up
shop. Bigger budgets and more
employees are the objective.    
Recently, the Food Stamp
bureaucrats were lauded for
finding millions more people to
sign up for the program. At least
these people have learned how to
fish...if only for new clients!
Re-run from December 27, 2010
Re-run from February 14, 2011
Politicians have to tread a narrow
line: people are smart enough to
vote for the (modest blush)
correct leaders, but they're not
smart enough to do much else for
themselves. Well, it is clear that  
voters are smart enough to vote
for politicians who promise them
free stuff!
You do have to be SO careful
nowadays to avoid offending
anyone. The PC police have taken
the honorable virtues of kindness,
decency and respect into a whole
new dimension. But there are still
those who are fair game for verbal
abuse, such as hunters, "the 1%",
litterbugs, and bullies. (Unless, of
course, those bullies are in the
service of the PC police.)
Re-run from March 14, 2011
In addition to the four months
of debate at the Constitutional
Convention, ratification took
nearly three years! Of course
people actually read the
Constitution before they voted
on it! How quaint. If
"efficiency" is measured in
words per legislative hour, the
Obamacare law wins easily. But
good ideas per hour, the
Constitution wins in a landslide.  
Re-run from August 22, 2011
Re-run from December 12, 2011
A widely held belief holds that corporations are short
sighted and don't think beyond the next quarterly
financial report. If that were
really true, why would
they invest billions in (A) Oil exploration; (B)
Product R&D; (C) Multi-year brand building
If governments were
really the adults looking out for
our long term well being - and not just focused on
the next election - they would: (A) Not spend billions
on goodies for the electorate without at the same
time coming up with the means to pay for these
I'll stop with (A)...that's enough.   
Every pedestrian bridge, walkway, or other
small public project nowadays is affixed with a  
brass sign noting which public officials were in
office when the project was funded. That's
"funded" as in "my tax dollars". Is anyone
besides me bothered by this? On the Federal
level they don't mess around with dinky plaques:
"John Murtha Airport"; "Nancy Pelosi Way";
"Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies".
(All real examples.) Most normal people would
be embarrassed by such undeserved praise. Did
someone place a sign above the entrance to the
Capitol building saying:
"Abandon Humility All
Ye Who Enter Here".
Re-run from February 7, 2011
"People before profits" is one of those
banalities that sounds pro- found...until you
give it a second thought. Bromides about
"special interests" or "Social Justice"
should be inspected carefully before use.
The master at puncturing these inflated
speech balloons is economist Thomas
Sowell. If you're not familiar with his
work, try some Sowell searching:
Re-run from October 3 , 2011
Clear thinking and careful use of words are
inseparable, or so we used to say. The
popular ratification debate over the U.S.
Constitution displayed sophisticated political
ideas and a nuanced vocabulary. That was a
long time ago. But there is still hope! A
recent poll asked about the importance of a
strong vocabulary. The responses: "Words
are awesome" (40%), "F***in' yes
important" (40%), "I don't understand the
question" (20%).  So public opinion is on
our side!
Re-run from February 13 , 2012
In the 1960s, Mao was lionized by
the western Left. But after the
human tragedy of the Great Leap
Forward, the horrors of the Cultural
Revolution, and the shock of
Tiananmen, he lost his rock star
status. Mao was always a
hand kind of guy. What about the
invisible hand? Think about it.
Millions of people freely pursuing
their own goals and interests end up
organizing, coordinating and creating
on a grand scale. We end up with
real leaps forward, and real cultural
Re-run from December 19, 2011
The truth is, electric cars may be more
polluting than internal combustion
vehicles, depending on where the
electricity comes from. Another
example: ethanol may well have a
larger carbon footprint than gasoline.
Unless pollution is built into the pricing
of the fuel, it's hard to figure out for
sure. The
Science of Green isn't so
easy, and shouldn't be confused with
Religion of Green, which calls for
piety, worship, ritual, and penitence,
but not hard analysis.
Re-run from February 27, 2012
Dr. Seuss also cleverly
lampooned the very idea of
totalitarian rule. For example,
Yertle the Turtle, King of the
Pond, was brought down by
hubris and cruel treatment of his
subjects. In Bartholomew and the
Oobleck, it was shown that "Even
a king can't rule the sky."  Dr.
Seuss is still the best!
Re-run from January 17, 2011
Re-run from January 17, 2011
Re-run from January 17, 2011
Re-run from December 27, 2011
Bullying is definitely a bad thing, so
children should be taught to recognize and
deal with bullies.
But who is the
really big boy in the
classroom? Notice how the federal
government is using its ever increasing
financial support of American education to
dictate curricula, testing, procedures and
rules? Maybe kids should be taught to
recognize and deal with
all kinds of bullies.
Oops! That's not in the approved
February 16, 2012

They will never admit it, but many elected
officials and bureaucrats harbor fantasies about
their constituents being like animals. Some think
of themselves as shepherds guarding their flock
these gentle, dull-witted creatures need my
benevolent husbandry
); or circus ringleaders
with a little disciplined leadership and the
occasional whip cracking, we can put
together a Real Show!
); or even a zoo keeper
Lock 'em up, feed 'em, and for God's sake
won't they stop that chattering!!
The cartoon has it backwards. 100
years ago, in addition to traditional
charities, there was a flowering of
thousands of voluntary mutual aid
organizations, the "friendly
societies" and fraternal
organizations. They withered as
the modern entitlement state
ballooned. So go ahead, give the
homeless guy a few bucks. The
welfare state bureaucrats and
politicians won't be deterred in
their mission.
Old laws may go into disuse, but they are
rarely repealed, so they accumulate on our
civilization like radioactive dust with a long
half-life. Combine those old laws with the
fountain of new laws, rules and regulation that
are emitted every year by our legislative class
and you are sure to be in violation of
something, sometimes. It's scary to think that
these rules could be selectively enforced to
discomfit, say, political enemies. But hey! That
can't happen here!
August 9, 2010
August 9, 2010
August 9, 2010
And by the way, what
would Jefferson think
about textbook
decisions being made
by committees of
Re-run from June 25, 2012
The best image in the Declaration is:

" He [George III] has erected a Multitude
of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of
Officers to harrass our People and eat out
their Substance."

Just imagine the sky darkened with swarms of
carnivorous bureaucrats, coming to enforce:
tax laws, Dodd-Frank, EPA mandates...
Those colonists didn't know what multitudes
and swarms really were!
Rerun From July 4, 2011
Rerun From October 31, 2011
The Tea Party had no official
organization or spokesperson, but its
central message was clear: Too much
expansive, expensive government in
So what
was the message of the Occupy
protests? Anti-capitalism?
that way.
Or anti-Crony Capitalism?
yeah, maybe that! Against rich people?
certainly...except for the ones
supporting Occupy.
Perhaps just
anti-Tea Party, or pro-big street party.
The press was so eager to make Occupy
significant and coherent. But in the end, it
was like the Oracle at Delphi: you hear
the message you want to hear.
Rerun From October 10, 2011
Political speeches today are typically
filled with: Appeals to emotion, straw
man arguments, platitudes, red
herrings, and stroking of vanity. The
real ideas - sometimes dangerous
ones! - lurk beneath the surface. But
just let the warm rhetorical froth wash
over you as you pay attention to the
important stuff: Oooh, look, George
Clooney is right behind Obama!; See
what Hilary is wearing! ...
Rerun From November 15, 2010
Adjusted for population and size of the
economy, Congress today is smaller than
it was is 1789. Congress, the feeble and
overwhelmed master of our modern
megastate, now writes a few notes of
instruction (or maybe a few thousand
pages), and tosses it to the bureaucracy
to figure out the details.

Obama said recently that he wants to
achieve a
smarter government. That's
not likely to happen. But if it tried to do
a whole let less, it would
seem a whole
lot smarter.
What it comes down to is this:
Voluntary exchange with its
"invisible hand"; or being
trampled by the invisible feet of
numerous intrusive bureaucrats.
Your choice.
Rerun From August 27 , 2012
Rerun From May 7 , 2012
Thank goodness the Feds are lavishing
so much attention and money on our
schools. Now, schools are racing to the
top, no child is left behind, we have
national curriculum standards, rules
about diversity, gender, sports,
sustainability and school nutrition.  
our schools are the envy of the
Well, O.K. Maybe not quite yet...but
just a few more federal programs and
mandates and a few billion more could happen!
Alternate Rerun From November 15, 2010
Rerun From May 7 , 2012
Thank goodness the Feds are
lavishing so much attention and
money on our schools. Now,
schools are racing to the top, no
child is left behind, we have national
curriculum standards, rules about
diversity, gender, sports,
sustainability and school nutrition.  
No wonder our schools are the envy
of the world!
Well, O.K. Maybe not quite yet...but
just a few more federal programs
and mandates and a few billion more could happen!
In 2013, some of the more popular cartoons were
run again, this time with commentary.