Monday, February 27, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

And the Academy Award for Best Picture goes to...

... Milk, pork chops, bananas and toilet paper?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Remembering Ed Garvey

Ed Garvey died this week at the age of 76. Garvey was a labor lawyer from Burlington, Wisconsin, perhaps best known for having been executive director of the National Football League Players Association during their strikes in 1974 and 1982.

After leaving the NFL Players Association post, he entered Wisconsin politics, serving as Wisconsin's Deputy Attorney General, then winning the Democratic nomination for the 1986 Senate race against Republican Robert Kasten. His campaign against Kasten, an unremarkable freshman senator elected in the Reagan wave of 1980, has to be included among the Wisconsin Democratic Party's many lost opportunities.

Garvey's TV and radio ads hammered Kasten, highlighting — among other things  the Senator's refusal to release his tax returns, and his having been arrested in 1985 for driving drunk on the wrong side of the road and running a red light (the charges were dropped). Consumer advocate Ralph Nader came to Wisconsin to campaign for Garvey, calling Kasten a "chronic drunk" who needs "rehabilitation rather than re-election." Kasten's campaign manager countered Nader's attack by accusing Garvey of "mov[ing] his campaign from the gutter to the sewer."

Nationally, 1986 was a good year for Democrats, but not in Wisconsin. With Kasten vastly outspending Garvey, there wasn't much doubt that he would win re-election. The race ended up being a bit closer than some pre-election polls had predicted; so if Garvey had somehow managed to pull an upset win, there would still have been readers who would have found this post-election cartoon (drawn before the returns were in) appropriate.

Garvey made a quixotic run for governor against Tommy Thompson in 1998, at the height of Governor Thompson's popularity. At the time I was drawing separate cartoons for two University of Wisconsin student newspapers, the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee, In Step Magazine and Q Syndicate; yet somehow, I did not draw a single cartoon about the gubernatorial race all year. The Business Journal editorialized on the Feingold-Neumann senate race a few times, requiring cartoons to match; the LGBT press was more interested in Tammy Baldwin's election to Congress.

Madison blogger Gregory Humphrey summed up Garvey's legacy in a more positive light than my cartoons have, so I'll let his words be the ones to leave you with:
"His optimism about the future needs of our political institutions was always strong as he continued to speak out and strongly support those who had a message that often echoed his own. He proved that politics it is not only about winning or losing but keeping the spirit of the fight alive even when the odds are against you."

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Q Toon: End Around

The Donald Joffrey Trump administration announced this week that whether or not transgender students can safely pee in school lavatories should be up to state legislatures to decide. So let's take a look at how that's going, shall we?

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Feb 23, 2017

Republicans in the state of Texas are pushing Senate Bill 6, the Lone Star version of North Carolina's phenomenally unsuccessful Bathroom Bill to require men who were born female to use the ladies' room and women who were born male to use the men's room. As in North Carolina, SB6 is aimed at overturning local ordinances and school policies protecting transgender rights.

The National Football League and National Basketball Association have come out against Texas's "Bathroom Bill," warning that if any bill seen as "discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law there, that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events."

With a potential loss of hundreds of millions in sports revenue, Texas Governor Greg Abbott shot back, "We don't care what the NFL thinks and certainly what their political policies are because they are not a political arm of the state of Texas or the United States of America. They need to learn their place in the United States, which is to govern football, not politics.”

Y'all remember when Thomas Jefferson about the wall of separation between sports and state.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and bill supporter Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Austin) protested that sports venues are exempt from SB6. Maybe.
When asked whether businesses and sporting venues would definitely be exempt, [Buckingham] added, "Well, we'll see what the language looks like, but it's my understanding that that's the intent — to realize that there are some complicating factors there and our priorities are really the schools."
Sports organizations may be the most prominent opponents of the legislation, but they are not alone. Major investment firms have also warned Texas of their opposition to the bill.
"As professional investors, we know that discrimination is simply bad for business," Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management, which signed the letter, told the teleconference.
A coalition of Texas convention and tourism leaders predicts a short-term GDP losses of $8 billion in revenue. Bob Jameson, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, worries that the impact to his city alone could be massive:
"Business and leisure tourism delivers a $2 billion economic impact each year in Fort Worth and supports more than 20,000 jobs. An important driver behind that is our friendly hospitality and a strong message that all are welcome here. We want to maintain that.”
“Restroom laws are one of the top policy deterrents for planning conventions, conferences and meetings,” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association. “Our industry holds 1.83 million meetings annually and brings $28 billion in U.S. federal, state and local taxes annually; with more than $280 billion in annual U.S. direct spending spurred by our sector. Should SB6 be signed into law, you ensure Texas’s future percentage of these taxes and spending will exponentially be reduced.”

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Look Who's Speaking

After two consecutive cartoons featuring Trump administration flacks, Spokespersonback Saturday takes a brief moment to recall mouthpieces of the past.

Brief, because I haven't drawn many cartoons about them.

Not that their faces aren't well known; but I'm usually more interested in highlighting the presidents rather than the schlubs who have to speak for them. But sometimes I want to populate a cartoon with assorted administration figures, or to have someone else speak for the President.

The latter was the case in this 1985 cartoon of Ronald Reagan's Acting Press Secretary, Larry Speakes.

An adversarial relationship between an administration and the White House press corps, as you see,  is nothing new.

I just want to note what an apt name Larry Speakes had for a spokesperson. It's as if he were born to have that job. I can imagine that the family name derived from a long line of Speakespersons for medieval kings and princelings.

There wouldn't be another Press Secretary so aptly named until Barack Obama appointed Josh Earnest, whose name literally means "Just Kidding, But Seriously."

Another item to note is that Speakes, and his immediate successor, Marlin Fitzwater, were "Acting" or "Deputy" Press Secretaries. James Brady was officially kept on in the position of Press Secretary throughout the Reagan administration, in spite of having suffered severe brain injury in John Hinckley, Jr.'s  assassination attempt on the President only two months into the job. (Fitzwater continued as full-fledged Press Secretary in the George H.W. Bush administration.)

Technically, then, Brady was not still Press Secretary when the "Brady Bill" (officially the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act) passed the Congress and was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, prompting this cartoon:

The importance of Brady Act in ending Democrats' domination of Congress cannot be understated. Republicans took over both houses in 1994 with loud support of the National Rifle Association in key races. During the George W. Bush administration, with Republicans in charge of the legislative and executive branches of government, hey systematically gutted one firearm safety measure after another. With that monopoly of power again today, in fact, the NRA and its minions in Congress and the White House even want to make sure that mentally unstable Americans have free and easy access to guns.

Just like NRA poster boy John Hinckley, Jr., who is a free man these days.

Mr. Brady is no longer available to comment.