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New Site: Keynes for Kids

Jul 2, 2012

I’ve just launched a microsite that I’ve been researching, illustrating, and building for the past several months. It’s called Keynes for Kids.

One Saturday last summer, I poured a bowl of cereal and sat down to watch a video of Paul Krugman’s then-recent talk at Cambridge. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publishing of John Maynard Keynes’s General Theory, Krugman had been flown out to talk about the relevance of Keynes to our time, and how we can avoid toxically distorting the great man’s message.

An hour later, I was grinning like an idiot, and my brain had been flung somewhere to the far side of my apartment. It was charming, it was quick-paced, and it had a message that hurtled “history” into something urgent. Plus, I’d learned a metric ton, though at no point did it feel like I was learning. It really just felt like I was eating cereal and laughing. Needless to say, I was inspired.

Keynes for Kids is my fan letter back to Dr. Krugman. It’s done in the sub-sub-sub-niche medium I know best — “illustrated / interactive children’s online educational media” — with a mindful dash of responsive web design & “Retina” optimization too, because why not.

I’m telling you: deep down, kids love macroeconomics. They just don’t know it yet.

Of Michael Bloomberg and Neptunian Whales

Oct 1, 2011

Some days the poetry being spun at Wonkette is too good not to draw.

Hm. Nope. Every single sentence quoted from this radio interview is about as factual as “Jesus rode whales around Neptune with Axl Rose for six thousand years, which led to the invention of the tambourine and the horse.” That was our free-association response to “Americans caused the banks to collapse and protesters hate service workers and middle class wage-earners.”

— Kirsten Boyd Johnson, perfectly.

Dismantling Medicaid in 10 Easy Steps

Aug 22, 2011

I’d planned to draw something about the “debt ceiling” “debate,” and the ghastly, cynical, unconscionable, utterly needless cuts that came from it, but I really just didn’t want to get any closer to that. Sure, it’s defeatist, but I try to limit my heavy nausea just to New Year’s Day.

But then I read this little below-the-fold gem about California. Just admire the compactness of it — so much exposed policy cynicism in so few paragraphs! Figure by this point, we’ve atrophied more of the Great Society than we’ve preserved of it, and what little remains is easy target practice for the VSP crowd. Many of whom, inevitably, are Democrats.

It’s health. For Americans. This is no different and no less compulsory than fire protection or national defense or free elementary schools. You don’t get to trumpet your love for America and then, in the next breath, vilify Americans who’d dare expect twentieth-century Western standards. (Or, if you’re Mark Warner [“D”-VA], just say to hell with it and start extorting cash from sick veterans.)

So: Either what Roosevelt and Truman and Johnson tried to build were inherently misguided flukes, or the modern Democratic Party is dead. (Well, just as soon as it finishes paying back Pfeizer.)




The Debt Ceiling, the NSD, and Funny Comedy Jokes

Jul 17, 2011

Yep, this situation sure got bleak, fast. If there’s a Richter-scale-busting earthquake being felt in the Texas Hill Country, it’s just Lyndon Johnson rolling in his grave.

Not as many sources this time, but that’s because it’s a shameless re-appropriation of other, smarter people’s writings and analyses. You can break down this entire strip from three main sources:

Bottoms up!


Medicare (Illustrated)

Jun 7, 2011

This has officially gotten out of hand.

Full disclaimer that I know I’m treading on ground that Krugman, Digby, Ezra, Bernstein, and countless others have already tread, and with far more tact and insight than me. This is just another voice in the “wilderness,” which is funny, since you can’t get much more embedded into “yes, here are a few core, unmovable, public-good, shared values that we as Americans jointly agree on” than…well, Medicare. In other words, this shouldn’t be a “views differ” news item. It was explicitly designed so that would never happen.

Even though he wasn’t describing Medicare per se, Paul wrote something last week that sent chills up my spine, and I think it describes the larger motif we find ourselves in with a beautiful sharpness (and brevity). I wish I’d come up with it:

We’ve learned a lot less these past 74 years than you might have imagined — or rather, we learned some stuff, but have spent the last few decades unlearning it.


  • Panel 2: The Democratic Party’s complete self-censoring of ever mentioning one of its two most important (and policy-effective) Presidents — and the author of its half-century of basic policy stance — still bewilders me. I touched on it back in a TDI post last year.
  • Panel 7: But is President Robot tough enough on defense? This and more on Hardball. 7:00 pm.
  • Panel 11: Ryan’s also been scoring some read-meat points by casually describing Medicare as “welfare.” Boy, now that doesn’t have any time-proven dog whistle effects. Dan Radmacher has more.
  • Panel 13: Congressional Budget Office, via CAP.
  • Panel 16: Rep. Tonko over at Politico.
  • Panel 17: Ezra Klein at the Post nailed it early on.
  • Panel 20: Digby, describing the whole sordid episode, perfectly, as “verbal compost.”
  • Panel 22: Brooks’ column at the Times, hilariously via Pareene.
  • Panel 24: Several Krugman blog posts from the last couple months, but his column from Sunday encapsulates it all.

Presidential Campaign Press Statements (Illustrated)

May 19, 2011

Here are my favorite things in life.

With that context, it was with great interest that I absorbed the news of Wednesday afternoon’s press statement from the nascent Gingrich campaign, wherein our stalwart protagonist was depicted as fighting trigger-happy sheep, so we wouldn’t have to fight them here. Maybe? Who knows. My point is, this was the finest and most engaging piece of writing I’ve yet read. Imagine Keats, if Keats had punched out Yeats (who would in turn kick Hardy in the shins), and then high-fived James Madison. (Who would, in turn, write down “punching Keats” as his first Amendment.) (Or more like fist Amendment!)

So, here is yesterday’s Official Gingrich Campaign Press Statement. Verbatim.


Today’s Wisconsin (Illustrated)

Mar 4, 2011

There’s a measurable limit to how much head-punching inanity you can hear and read in the press about “why” Wisconsin is in budget trouble, and “who” is to blame for it, before you lose it. Clearly, I just got there. Also-clearly, this is not well drawn. Consider it a bar napkin doodle with words. Eventually, I’ll draw something for real. This was just too urgent. (Footnotes/sources at bottom.) (UPDATE, 3-6-2011: I was on Doug Pagitt’s AM 950 radio show to discuss the strip. The segment’s about 12 minutes long, and while you can see Doug, you can only hear my disembodied voice.)



  • To learn more about the full, wholly depressing, borderline-unbelievable story behind panels 2-9, I can’t recommend enough Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia. It’s also funny as hell.
  • Panel 7: Source
  • Panel 11: Source
  • Panel 14: Source
  • Panel 21: Source
  • Panel 24: Source
  • Panel 25: Source, if you can stomach it
  • Panel 26: Source

Well, here we go again.

Feb 25, 2011

Yeah, this can hardly end well.

So since the “winter” (ha ha) “sabbatical” from Today’s Document is taking longer than I thought, seeing as my creative motivation for committing to much anything is flattened, on life support, and barely blinking, maybe it’s time to start a new publick web-logge, of art-drawings. I hear it’s “healthy” (ha ha). But I’m offering zero guarantees about the quality of this one. Basically, it would’ve been a Tumblr, if I wasn’t so annoying about wanting my own markup. (For whatever that’s worth.) It also could’ve been a Twitter account, except I think some days I may want to write/draw something long-form.

So really, this is just a process book.