Monday, February 8, 2016

Support Your Right to Explode

Dateline Shigagowinj, WI (IPU): At the National Rifle Association and Wisconsin Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc. (FORCE)  annual convention in Weston this month, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) signed a bill into law that allows suicide vests, five years after the state approved concealed firearms and seconds after a bill to allow carrying switchblades.

Manufacturing, selling, transporting, purchasing or possessing a suicide vest has been illegal in
Wisconsin since frontier days.

The bill also lowers the minimum age for wearing a suicide vest to three months and bars local governments from enacting suicide vest regulations stricter than state law.

The bill’s author, Kathleen Van Kooykmir (R-Idiculous) told reporters, “Local ordinances more restrictive than state law only serve to confuse or entrap law-abiding citizens traveling within or through the state. Preemption ensures that citizens can expect consistent enforcement of state suicide vest laws everywhere in Wisconsin.”

Suicide vests may now be worn in Wisconsin schools, houses of worship, bars, restaurants, sports arenas, public transportation, airports and amusement parks. The one place suicide vests will still be banned is the state capitol building.

“We may be wild and reckless,” said State Senator Ron Onionson (R-Eilavac), “But we ain't nuts.”

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton: HRC in NYC

For today's episode of Statenback Saturday, I dredge up some more of my old cartoons about Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Last week, I posted some cartoons dating from her First Ladyship, and the Sandersnistas among my readers might be forgiven if they criticized me for a pro-Hillary bias. Today's cartoons date from her tenure as the U.S. Senator from the state of New York and were drawn for an LGBT audience -- and posting them again is probably not doing her any favors. (Especially since they criticize her for stuff which somehow failed to make this comprehensive list of all the terrible things she has done.)

Hillary Clinton chose to run for New York's open Senate seat because New York, having many citizens who are from somewhere else, have a history of electing public officials who are from somewhere else, too. Those citizens can be mighty proud of being from somewhere else, or at least that their great-grandparents were from somewhere else. There are also those who are from somewhere else because they aren't accepted for who they are somewhere else, and by golly, now they are proud of how far they've come.

Senator Clinton probably wished she had stayed somewhere else during the collision of ethnic pride and gay pride that New York enjoys every St. Patrick's Day. Running for the senate seat in 2000, she had marched in both the New York City Ancient Order of Hibernians parade, which banned LGBT participation, and also in an earlier "St. Pat's For All" parade in Queens, created as a gay-friendly alternative. Her attempt to please everybody placated nobody.

She skirted the controversy in 2001 by marching in Syracuse's parade upstate instead.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade issue had still not gone away when she was preparing to launch her 2008 presidential campaign.

But there were more substantive LGBT issues on her plate, too, such as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and marriage equality. My only cartoon depicting her efforts to distance herself from DADT  was when she was running for the Senate in 2000. As for marriage equality, a window of opportunity opened in California in 2008, but neither she nor her rival for the Democratic nomination were inclined to lead on the issue.

I'm skipping right past her tenure at the State Department now, but both Mrs. Clinton and President Obama did come around, eventually.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Q Toon: Through the Eye of the Needle

I take a risk any time I draw a cartoon like this one on the weekend before a presidential primary or caucus, knowing it won't be published until after the votes are counted and their entrails analyzed beyond recognition.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Feb 4, 2016

It's too bad I didn't draw it a week earlier. I have been at a loss to understand the fulsome praise heaped upon Donald "Two Corinthians" Trump by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. (I didn't realize they had a history together.). Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas has also come as close as he can get to officially endorsing Trump without risking his megachurch's tax-exempt status (and I guess those two have no history together to explain what Jeffress sees in The Donald). An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll taken before the Iowa caucuses led one to believe that evangelicals were "flocking to Trump."
Among white evangelical Republican voters nationally, Trump earned the support of 37 percent, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose father is a pastor and has played a key role in recruiting faith leaders to support his son, is at 20 percent. In the same survey conducted the previous week, Cruz registered 9 percentage points higher. Below the top two contenders, Ben Carson earned 11 percent among evangelicals, and Marco Rubio took 10 percent.
What do these people who think President Obama is the Antichrist see in the guy often described as a thrice-married casino mogul? It can't be his powers of insightful exegesis:
Trump was raised Presbyterian and has often fumbled in his attempts to appeal to Christian and Evangelical voters. He declined to discuss his favorite Bible verse in August, after claiming the Bible was his all-time favorite book. He later tried to recite a verse that didn't actually occur in the Bible. He has also said he never asks God for forgiveness, and when asked which book of the Bible was his favorite, he said he likes the Old and New Testament equally.
On the other hand, they probably appreciated his promise to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the current Court's rulings for marriage equality. The Muslim-bashing didn't hurt his standing with them, either.

But the evangelicals could get that stuff from nearly every one of the candidates in the Republican party. They bought it from Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum before -- two Iowa caucus victors who are now stranded in the wilderness wondering how they let some Richie Rich from Noo Yoark Sitty swipe their schtick.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek


I'm going out on a limb this week and crossing my fingers that heavy snow doesn't result in an upset win for Jim Gilmore tonight.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton: The First Lady Sings the Blues

One of my colleagues produced a caricature of Hillary Clinton this week that was perhaps a little less than successful. Well, at least according to one of the people who posted a comment on his Facebook feed it was. The commenter conceded that Hillary's having changing hair styles over the years could have contributed to the caricature falling short.

That got me to thinking. I've had my difficulties drawing Mrs. Clinton in spite of having nearly a quarter century to get her right, and those changing hair styles are only part of the problem. So, with apologies to Bernie Sanders (and Martin O'Malley) fans, I've dug up a handful of my efforts to capture the essence of Hillary.

My first attempt was this cartoon for the UWM Post from April, 1992, featuring the wives of the three general election presidential candidates. Her face should have been rounder than I drew it. (And no, that's not really Mrs. Perot.)

This one followed Bill's election, as he hit the first road bump of his presidency even before his inauguration; you might notice that I'm still making reference to candidate Clinton's claim that the nation would be getting two presidents for the price of one.

His first two nominees for Attorney General were compelled to withdraw over accusations that they had hired illegal immigrants as domestic help. ZoĆ« Baird and her husband had hired two undocumented Peruvian immigrants as nanny and chauffeur for their kids, and Republicans nicknamed the furore "Nannygate." The next nominee, Kimba Wood, turned out to have hired undocumented immigrant child care workers, too; so Mr. Clinton's third and final choice was the unmarried, childless Janet Reno.

There are multiple references to explain in this cartoon from 1996. New York Times Columnist Bill Safire penned that Hillary Clinton was "a congenital liar" during the Whitewater investigations doggedly led by then New York Republican Senator Alphonse D'Amato. D'Amato's investigation -- and career -- went nowhere, but Safire's accusation has become central to conservative attacks against her ever since.

Bill Watterson had recently quit drawing his "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoon at the peak of its popularity; Calvin's snowball attacks on Susie Derkins had been a running gag of the strip. My credit to Watterson in the cartoon refers to a comic strip running in the rival to the UWM Post, the very conservative UWM Times, which ran as a regular feature a cartoon whose leading character was a thinly disguised version of that image of Calvin peeing on stuff, which you've probably seen in the rear window of a car or pick-up. (Neither that image, nor the UWM Times cartoon, were in any way licensed.)

By 1999, the Illinois-born former First Lady of Arkansas was putting herself forward as a candidate for Senator from D'Amato's and Safire's home state.

Now, I've skipped over some cartoons about health care reform and Republicans' impeachment of Bill Clinton. I might come back to them someday, or not. I will rerun a few of my cartoons about Hillary Clinton's elected career some Snapback Saturday soon.

It's a much deeper well than my archive of one Bernie Sanders cartoon. (So far.)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Q Toon: Phil's Out

Can we just be silly for a moment?
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Jan 28, 2016

I know that some people will accuse Mr. Punxsutawny Phil of being insensitive to the plight of the victims of Winter Storm Jonas, even though, as an outdoor-dwelling creature, Phil ought to have plenty of empathy for that sort of thing.

On the other hand, as an internationally famous meteorological spokesrodent, Phil probably enjoys a pretty cushy one-percenter lifestyle compared to the rest of his genus.

That's our mailbox on the left.
Blizzard Jonas spared my particular neighborhood this time around, but I'm no stranger to two-foot-plus snowfalls. And winter ain't over yet. As folks around here will tell you, if the ground hog comes out and sees his shadow, we'll have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't, winter will drag on for another month and a half.

Either way, Spring will eventually come in with more freezing temperatures and at least one nasty snowstorm.