Ack Ack

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One from a photo sent to me by former classmate Dan Ackman, who reports that Bill C. showed "deceptive speed" during their run together.


A Black and White Issue

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Apple said in a Friday press release that the white version of the iPhone 4 "continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected." Originally, the white version was supposed to be released at the same time as the black one, which debuted in five countries on June 24. The white model will now arrive "later this year," Apple said.


Nelson Mandela's heroic flaw

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One for Nelson on his birthday, and I'd like to think he'd enjoy it. [I think Graça Machel might enjoy it even more.]


China Jump

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Webber and Vettel Make Peace At Red Bull

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The day before the British Grand Prix, Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber was incensed to learn he would have to give the front wing of his car to Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel on race day. Webber led the race from start to finish and as he took the chequered flag, said over the radio, "Not bad for a number two driver." He later said he would never have signed with Red Bull if he had known Vettel would receive favoured treatment. But now, apparently, peace has broken out, and both Red Bull drivers understand that if resources are limited, priority will be given to the driver ranked higher in the championship standings (now Webber).

Darwin would have been pleased.


What They Were Thinking: Caster Semenya Edition

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Please excuse the sexist stereotyping in the above, but (I felt) I needed it to set up the 'toilet seat' punchline.

Caster Semenya is a South African 800 meters runner who shot to global fame last year when she won her specialty at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, crushing the field in a time of 1:55:45.

Semenya, to be frank, looks quite a bit like a man, especially in terms of musculature, and questions were raised after her victory (and well before, but Athletics South Africa and the International Amateur Athletics Federation covered that up) about whether or not she is a woman (in 1932, Poland's Stella Walsh won the 100 meters gold medal and was later found to have been a hermaphrodite; she remains on the books as the gold medalist).

This year, following a gender test and presumably, months of negotiations aimed at saving face for the IAAF and the South Africans, Semenya was cleared to return to competition (as a woman), and she won her debut race in Lappeenranta, Finland on July 15. The results of her gender test remain undisclosed.

There is no greater victim in this badly bungled affair than Semenya, but it's equally clear that the IAAF (and IOC) rules should be clarified to address the question of eligibility for hermaphrodite athletes (who clearly have an advantage over 'normal' women).


Steve and Eric, ex-BFFs

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This is a cartoon I did for Australian Macworld, which as a print publication, embargoed my posting of it here until today (which is why it's a bit late to the party on the subject of Google's Android having overtaken Apple's iPhone in mobile phone operating system market share). I'm in Australian Macworld with a Macintoon every month.


Sumo-size Me!

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Thanks to Sarah Noorbakhsh for the great photo!

This land is your land. This land is my land.

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Arizona's Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070) is anti-illegal immigration legislation that makes it a crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying registration documents required by federal law, authorizes state and local law enforcement of federal immigration laws, and provides for penalties against those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal aliens.

Critics of the legislation say it encourages racial profiling, while supporters say the law simply enforces existing federal law.

What do the Navajo say? As usual, no one's asking them.

From Phoenix With Love

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In the span of four days last week and this week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's Republican primary opposition completely collapsed, as Dean Martin and Buz Mills both "suspended" their campaigns. It's enough to make a conspiracy theorist wonder ... is Karl Rove in town?


Defender-in-Chief Brewer Nabs McCain Endorsement

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Who the heck is John McCain, anyway? Right-winger? Closet leftie? Maverick? Has-been?

Does he even know?


The Gamblers

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Japan's iconic (and 2,000-year-old) sport of sumo has been hit hard by a scandal that has seen dozens of wrestlers admit to betting illegally on baseball and other activities.

The Japan Sumo Association has expelled ozeki (champion) Kotomitsuki from the sport, and police have arrested a member of an organized criminal gang accused of trying to extort over ¥100 million from Kotomitsuki in exchange for keeping quiet about the wrestler's gambling habit.

How did this happen? As you might expect, they start 'em young.

More detail from Justin McCurry, Tokyo-based correspondent for The Guardian, here and here.


Jay-Z Makes His Pitch to LeBron James

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After posting this, I got queried on context by a friend I'll call Not The Sports Guy.

So for those who don't know, and would (perhaps) like to, LeBron James is the new Michael Jordan (not so new, and not quite Michael Jordan).

Jay-Z is a famous rapper/music mogul. Married to Beyonce, famous singer and object of sexual fantasy for just about any man with a pulse.

Jay-Z and Russian oligarch playboy Mikhail Prokhorov are owners of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. And James has completed his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers (where he's spent his entire career), triggering a firestorm of interest among NBA teams that may be able to afford him.

Got it?

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall ...

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Just Happy To Be Here

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Throughout the World Cup, Japan has been giddy over the (marginal) success of its football team, the 'Samurai Blue'. In part this is due to near-zero expectations resulting from the team's abysmal circuit of pre-tournament friendlies, during which it managed to lose to everyone it played save Hong Kong and Bahrain, but in part it results from the subconscious belief on the part of many (most?) Japanese that Asians cannot compete with non-Asians in athletic activity that does not involve pre-teenage girls performing triple somersaults. Complete rubbish, of course, especially on the football pitch, but there you have it.

Japanese players were welcomed home yesterday by enthusiastic fans and an even more admiring media, and the atmosphere at the post-arrival press conference might have confused some into thinking Japan had won the World Cup. A sharp contrast to the receptions that met the French and English teams after their elimination from the tournament.

As Crash Davis would have said, "I'm just happy to be here."



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Natto Maki

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Numbered (and Named) Swiss Bank Accounts

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The Swiss Parliament this week approved a deal requiring Swiss bank UBS to provide the Internal Revenue Service with the names of 4,450 American account holders. The U.S. government has been recently signed several new tax treaties, including with Switzerland, which along with other tax havens including Singapore and Luxembourg has begun entering into bilateral tax treaties under standards codified by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The new treaties commit them to providing information requested by treaty partners to enforce tax laws, regardless of any internal bank secrecy laws.
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Politicomix by Roberto De Vido is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License