“Beltway living large while rest of US struggles”

If the Taiwan-based satirists at Next Media Animation are to be believed, Washingtonians exist in a blissful bubble — safely shielded from the slings and arrows of an Apocalyptic economy.

If you live within the Sphere of the Federally Feathered Nest, it apparently is like living under glass — made of Waterford crystal, it would seem — hermetically sealed from the nation’s fiscal Hellscape.

There is, in other words, no place like dome.

Citing a recent Bloomberg report, NMA says Washington now “has a higher median income than San Jose, home to Silicon Valley. Isolated from the rest of the nation’s woes, federal employees enjoyed over $120K in salary and benefits in 2010.”

So in its video spoofage this week, NMA depicts federal workers gobbling at the money trough of Uncle Sam — a mean, lean, Tarantino-esque figure who opens the nation’s vaults to Big Oil, Big Guns and Big Pharma.

This certainly puts the “fed” in “well-fed.”

“A driving factor is the lobbying industry on K Street, which is even giving Wall St. a run for its money,” NMA says in its characterization of the report. “The Beltway also attracts a disproportionate amount of high-salaried lawyers. There is one for every 12 people in the [D]istrict.”

Then, to tie its animated lampooning to the larger Occupied landscape, NMA asks: “How much more will the gap widen between rich and poor in America?”

So far all that, NMA occupies our top spot as Video Pick of the Week.


Cartoonists issued a wealth of tributes to Steve Jobs, though the Apple founder grappled with how to censor some satire. (MATTHEW INMAN / The Oatmeal)

AND SPEAKING OF POLITICAL SATIRE: With Walter Isaacson’s highly recommended bestselling biography “Steve Jobs” hitting bookshelves this week, we get perhaps the final word on Apple’s onetime grappling with satire in its App store.

You’ll recall that on the day in 2010 that political animator Mark Fiore won the Pulitzer Prize, he told Comic Riffs that Apple had rejected his political-cartooning app, which violated the online store’s “defamation” clause. The story had legs — as well as sharp elbows — as the media clatter and public ridicule rose to such a degree that Jobs found himself addressing the matter during on onstage appearance.

The cover of the new biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. (REUTERS)

Writes Isaacson in “Steve Jobs,” quoting the Apple co-founder’s public apology: “We’re guilty of making mistakes. We’re doing the best we can, we’re learning as fast as we can — but we thought this rule made sense.”

In his clear-eyed thoroughness, Isaacson also provides necessary critical context, writing:

“It was more than a mistake. It raised the specter of Apple’s controlling what apps we got to see and read, at least if we wanted to use an iPad or iPhone. Jobs seemed in danger of becoming the Orwellian Big Brother he had gleefully destroyed in Apple’s ‘1984’ Macintosh ad. He took the issue serioiusly. One day he called the New York Times columnist Tom Friedman to discuss how to draw lines without looking like a censor.”

In terms of political satire and caricature, that applied to apps by such artists as Tom Richmond and Daryl Cagle — but as reported here, Fiore’s “NewsToons” app brought the issue to a head. Shortly after the Fiore story made headlines, an Apple representative contacted him and urged him to resubmit his app. Within a matter of days, Fiore’s app was approved.

Later, at the Wall Street Journal D8 conference, Jobs seemed to challenge how Fiore submitted his app, attempting to deflect blame to the artist himself.

Ultimately, though, Fiore told Comic Riffs this month that his admiration of Jobs never wavered.

“Even though I experienced some Apple app-store growing pains and was frustrated by their satire ban, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Steve Jobs,” Fiore said hours after Apple announced the co-founder’s death at age 56. “Without the more visually oriented personal computer and art-friendly computing, I never would have started animating my political cartoons.

“He made computers accessible to low-tech cartoonists like me!”



STEVE JOBS: His 10 best quotes about art and creativity

THE RANT: Why does Apple hate political satire? Pulitzer winner’s app case stokes larger failure

APP STORE: Once-spurned cartoonists skeptical of clarified rules

MARK FIORE: Pulitzer-winning animator takes the path less traveled

APP SATIRE: Fiore’s once-rejected app is approved

THE RANT: Now is the time for all cartooniststo to satirize Steve Jobs

RIP, STEVE JOBS THE ARTIST: 5 moving portraits of the creative pioneer


Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who was kidnapped and brutally beaten in retaliation for his work criticizing the government, is among the recipients of Europe’s Sakharov Prize, which honors those who have campaigned for freedom. [via Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon]

Accused serial plagiarist David Simpson creates an editorial cartoon for the Urban Tulsa that is eerily similar to a Jeff MacNelly cartoon from decades ago. Simpson was fired from the Tulsa World in 2005 for a similar cartooning crime. [via The Daily Cartoonist’s Alan Gardner]

Former Des Moines Tribune political cartoonist and gifted author Bob Artley dies at age 94. [via ComicsDC’s Mike Rhode]