President Biden’s Build Back Better package, chock-full of juicy social goodness, started at $3.5 trillion over a decade. Thanks to Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who are both trying to protect billionaires from increased taxes, the plan has been cut down to less than $2 trillion. The two turncoats were at the White House last night and will return today to try to whittle it down even more. They’re bringing more tricks than treats.
According to reports, Manchin wants to cut it down to $1.5 trillion over ten years and add cuts to plans for Medicare expansion, Medicaid expansion and paid leave. Sinema is probably on board with all this. At this rate, you may not see or feel anything from Build Back Better. They may have to rename it “Build Back Somewhat.” Will climate subsidies and universal pre-K, and child tax credit survive the Manchin/Sinema slashing? Will we see anything progressive left in this package or will it all be candy corn?
Nobody likes candy corn, except Laura, one of my proofers. She told me I should take out candy corn and replace it with raisins. I do agree that getting raisins from trick-or-treating sucks. But according to online polls, there is no greater Halloween suck than candy corn. Sure, you have your wax lips and cola bottles, Mounds, 3 Musketeers, Milky Ways, wrapped butterscotch, black licorice, red vines, circus peanuts, and necco wafers, but candy corn is the all-time winner for most-hated Halloween candy.
Even though raisins are called “nature’s candy,” they’re not candy. And getting tiny boxes of them is almost as bad as getting toothbrushes from the old ladies in your neighborhood. If old ladies don’t give out butterscotch candies, they give out toothbrushes.
The best Halloween candy by far are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I bought some this year but…I bought them too early.
Now, for the Amtrak story: I promised on my YouTube channel that I’d tell the story in my blog. There isn’t enough time for an Amtrak story in my videos. So, this is me keeping my promise, mostly to viewer Akenta, who brought it back up and is a very loyal reader. She counts all the people when I draw crowds. You don’t do that, do you? I didn’t think so.
I went to Washington, DC last week. I took the train. It’s after you get on the train that they scan your ticket. My ticket was in my phone. Somewhere between Fredericksburg and Quantico, an Amtrak dude came by, scanned the image of the code on my phone, and his scanner thingy went “beep.” I saw him do it. I heard the beep. We both moved on with our lives. This was last Saturday.
I came back on the train on Monday. I bought a round-trip so it was the same code on my phone. Again, an Amtrak scanner dude came by, tried to scan my phone, and it wouldn’t beep. He told me there was a problem as my reservation did not exist anymore. He gave me a phone number and told me I had to straighten it out with Amtrak or I’d be kicked off the train at the next stop, which was Woodbridge…where my ex-girlfriend lives. Man, don’t dump me in Woodbridge. To be fair, the guy didn’t use the word “kick.” But it was definitely implied I would be removed with much force, anger, and aggression. The other passengers would later have something to talk about. “Ever see a political cartoonist get forcibly removed from a train? I have. There was a lot of cursing.”
Despite there being Amtrak people being on the Amtrak train I was on, I had to call Amtrak people at another location. Somehow, this was my responsibility for their mistake. As I was on hold, the scanner dude came back to tell me he figured out the problem. He then scanned my phone and it worked. He explained my ticket was NOT scanned on the first leg of my trip, which made Amtrak cancel the entire trip. I told the guy I saw the first person scan it and heard the beep, this Amtrak dude kept telling me I had not and it never happened. I wanted to throw him off the train like he was Danny DeVito’s momma (did you see that movie? Do you get the reference? There was a train and Danny DeVito recruited Billy Crystal to help him throw his momma off it while it was moving. Near the end, the plan was for Billy Crystal to throw Momma from the train and on the way back to his seat, get Danny a Chunky, which is also much better than candy corn).
Then, this Amtrak fucker gave me a huge lecture about how when my ticket is scanned, I need to make sure the Amtrak employee doing it did it right. Then he repeated the lecture over and over. When he was done, I asked him if he could show me that he scanned my ticket correctly. He told me I could trust him because he’s an Amtrak employee and I didn’t have to check on him. I think that’s Amtrak logic. Choo-choo!
It’s not a passenger’s job to make sure Amtrak employees are doing their jobs. Am I required to make sure the conductor is conducting it in the right direction? Is it up to me to make sure the train went to Washington and not Alburquerque like some wayward rabbit? I feel enough pressure to see something say something. Also, I should not have had the responsiblity or hassle to call Amtrak to straighten out a situation they messed up, and get it corrected minutes before the next stop or get kicked off the train. The option menu would take longer than that. “Press ‘7’ if you’re trying to avoid being thrown off a moving train…”
Yes, I wrote a complaint detailing the entire situation to Amtrak. You should be proud because I only used “fuck” twice in it.
Creative note: This cartoon is dated for October 31 which means I will not be drawing any more Halloween cartoons for this year unless CNN wants one for this Sunday. I have a pet peeve about fellow cartoonists drawing holiday cartoons AFTER the holiday.
Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.
Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: There are ZERO copies of my book in stock, which go for $45.00 each, signed. A new shipment will arrive in early November. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.
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