Monday, January 16, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

I had a frustrating evening of drawing last night -- in defiance of gravity, ink insisted upon runhing up the pen than down it, getting more ink on my fingers than on the page... which was supposed to be coarse on one side and smooth on the other but appears to be coarse on one side and slightly less coarse on the other.

At least the Packers won.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Peace at Hand

Continuing last Saturday's look back at editorial cartoons from January, 1917, it soon becomes clear that any optimism for peace left over from the the holiday season was aging about as well as the family Christmas tree.

Last week, I included a Canadian cartoon that portrayed the U.S. as a fish eyeing bait (Germany's peace proposal) dangled by Kaiser Wilhelm. Below, an Italian cartoonist depicts the U.S. and its own peace proposals as the objects being dangled.
Cartoon in Il Numero,Turin, in January, 1917
In this British cartoon, a Belgian officer (very possibly King Albert I) reacts to "peace notes" carried by Scandinavia, Switzerland and the U.S.
"Why Didn't You Speak Up" by George Whitelaw in Glasgow Evening News, January, 1917
On the west side of the Atlantic, views of Germany and the Kaiser were quickly souring. There were still cartoonists drawing cartoons against war per se, but they were outnumbered by cartoons that argued suspicions against Germany. (Both appear to have been outnumbered by cartoons about the cost of living, but I didn't see any on that topic that I found the slightest bit interesting. So, returning to the topic at hand...)
"Friendly Relations" by John H. Cassel in The New York World, January, 1917
Bernstorff in John Cassel's cartoon is the German ambassador to the U.S., Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff, who was secretly funding extensive sabotage operations against the U.S. and Canada.

He wasn't just threatening to spread rumors of Woodrow Wilson and golden showers, either. His German agents set off explosions at the Roebling Wire and Cable plant in Trenton, New Jersey in January, 1915; and at a munitions depot near the Statue of Liberty in July, 1916. The latter killed seven people and caused $100,000 in damage to Lady Liberty and about $20 million elsewhere. The explosion was felt as far away as Maryland, and blew out windows in a 25-mile radius.
"Lifting the Lid" by Daniel Fitzpatrick in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January, 1917
As of January, 1917, culpability of the German government in these and other plots had not been exposed; that German sympathizers were involved was commonly suspected, however.

Were he the president-elect 100 years ago, I'm sure that Donald Joffrey Trump would have told the nation that plenty of other countries could have been behind the sabotage, and that “Blowing up stuff is bad, and it shouldn’t be done. But look at the things that were blown up. Look at what was learned from blowing it up.”

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Q Toon: Certainly Not GOP Shy

This cartoon was drawn last Saturday and Sunday, and sent to my editors on Monday morning, well before a certain story leaked out about a particular president-elect of the United States.
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Jan 12, 2017

So what is it about Republicans and their obsession with excretory functions?

North Carolina Republicans passed their notorious HB2 last year, and even faced with the loss of business, coveted sports events, and the governorship, decided that regulating transgender persons' use of public lavatories was more important than any of that. Charlotte rescinded the equal rights ordinance at the center of the HB2 controversy as part of a deal with Republicans to repeal the state law; but when it came time for Republicans to hold up their end of the deal, they refused.

This year, Republicans in several state legislatures have rushed to the side of their Tarheel brethren, introducing a slew of bathroom bills of their own. In a few, such as Virginia and Minnesota, the bills stand little chance of getting past a Democratic governor. But in others, such as Texas, there is no such check on the legislature, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick there is a vocal proponent. Here in Wisconsin, we have plenty of experience of Gov. Scott Walker quickly signing Republican legislation that he earlier claimed was "not a priority."

So Republicans are all in to confront the non-existent threat of transgender persons launching a wave of sexual assaults in public rest rooms. What can we do about it?

Tell them to piss off.

Monday, January 9, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek


The rough draft is probably all you need to see.

Meanwhile, count me among the many who are glad that Meryl Streep found her voice last night after all.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dabber Dan


After only knowing about this incident from what showed up on my Facebook feed over the past couple days, I saw the film of it on TV this morning, and couldn't help but notice that the youngest fellow had his tongue out the entire time.

Did Congressman Marshall put the kids up to this? How else could he have hoped to get so much free publicity out of this biennial congressional cattle call?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Look Back at a New Year

"The Conscript" by W.A. Rogers in New York Herald, January 1, 1917
100 years ago, you might be forgiven for being wary of the new year ahead of you. From our standpoint, we know that 1917 was the year that the U.S. would enter World War I.

But as the calendar turned, there was still some hope that peace might be in the offing. Seizing on a December invitation by Kaiser Wilhelm to the Entente powers to negotiate for peace, President Wilson proposed a series of settlement plans at the beginning of the year. He was also working behind the scenes to get other neutral countries to band together to persuade the belligerents to accept them. The Senate, backing Wilson's proposals by a vote of 48 to 17, thought peace was at hand.
"Released" by Magnus Kettner for Western Newspaper Union, January 8, 1917
Apparently, the markets, flush with two years of wartime profits, thought so, too.
"Did Anybody Say 'Peace'?" by Gibb in The Sunday Chronicle, Patterson, New Jersey, January 14, 1917
Germany, with its troops holding forth in France and Belgium and having success in Romania, had published its own peace proposals in December (meanwhile sending secret messages to Mexico urging President Carranza to declare war on the U.S.  which would be revealed later in January). The Triple Entente of Great Britain, France and Russia decided that German and American talk of peace was utter foolishness.
"Still Fishing" by William "Noax" Noakes in Regina Morning Leader, January 13, 1917
President Wilson's domestic critics joined in the skepticism.
"Experience as a Peace Maker" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, January 4, 1917
Wilson's overtures to other neutral countries further offended Entente leaders when Spain publicly rejected his private diplomacy. The Entente countered with their own peace proposal, consisting of terms the Central Powers would never accept without being militarily defeated: German evacuation of occupied territories; reparations for France, Russia and Romania; liberation from the Austrian and Ottoman Empires of Italians, Romanians, and Slavs; and creation of a "free and united Poland."
"A Common Sense View" by Winsor McCay in New York American, January 10, 1917
Now, if it occurs to you that McCay's focus on the monetary cost of the war, as opposed to its human cost, is maybe just the tiniest bit soulless, hey, at least it's not openly racist. For a truly jaw-dropping counterpoint to peace optimism, here's the first editorial cartoon of the year from Chicago Examiner's Harry Murphy:
"Must Peace Wait for This?" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, January 2, 1917
Yellow Peril, really? Ouch.