Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Q Toon: Inaugural Shout Out

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
÷Jan 30, 2013
It's a week late, but here's my cartoon about President Obama's Second Inaugural Speech. As cartoonist for  the nation's LGBT news and feature syndicate, I couldn't very well ignore the first ever mention of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in a presidential inauguration speech, even if that speech was delivered four hours after I sent last week's cartoon to the syndicate.

I understand that conservatives have their collective nose out of joint because President Obama failed to deliver the inaugural address they had written for Mitt Romney. The Economist's Lexington complains about the President's "partisan" speech:
In his speech Mr Obama painted conservatives as akin to a primitive tribe—intensely united around such totems as climate-change denial or hostility to gay rights, rigid in their belief that government safety nets trap citizens in dependency, and generally prone to mistake “absolutism for principle”. In contrast, Mr Obama used the inauguration to thank and reassure the loose coalition that returned him to power in November. In a cascade of lyrical stanzas he pledged his second term, in turn, to those who depend on public health care and pensions, to those weary of war, to women seeking equal pay, to gays seeking equal rights, to minorities angry about legal hurdles that seemingly exclude them from voting, and to immigrants wanting new lives in America. The president ended with a call for citizens to demand that politicians address that progressive agenda.
Lexington suggests that this address is par for the course, reporting that Republicans "routinely accuse Mr Obama of distorting their positions." These must be the same Republicans who say that Obama is a socialist Marxist Israel-hater foisting death panels on Grandmas nationwide while apologizing for everything America has ever done and snatching away everybody's guns.

Speaking of guns, while Lexington pays President Obama no compliments on the issue, the Republican reader who has found in the column a sympathetic account of his/her grievances will likely stumble over the parentheses in this sentence toward the end: "A confrontation looms, too, over Mr Obama’s (feeble) proposals on gun control, such as curbs on high-capacity ammunition clips or new checks on gun buyers."

Would it have been less feeble to have described a progressive movement from Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall and Sandy Hook?

Monday, January 28, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

This week's sneak peek marks a return to the traditional snippet out of my own cartoon.

You might have heard that the President was in the news a bit last week.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Q Toon: Daylight Come and Me Wanna Go Home

First off, let me just note that I had to send this week's cartoon to syndicate offices by Monday morning, and what I wouldn't give to have gotten a peek at President Obama's inaugural address a day earlier!

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
÷Jan 23, 2013
But I was not so privileged, so here's another cartoon inspired by the most important news story of the century: the imaginary dead girlfriend of Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o.

I don't know the guy, and I have no idea why he had an imaginary girlfriend. I can only guess that she contracted leukemia and died because somebody or other got tired of having to maintain her fictional existence.  Besides, at that age, a tragic death is fraught with romantic drama -- second only to having to choose between one boyfriend who's a werewolf and another who's a vampire.

Once upon a time, having a fictional girlfriend merely required pretending to have phone conversations within view of your teammates, frat brothers, or platoon from time to time. If someone back home were willing to help, there could also be letters in the mail. If you were a famous movie star, your studio would be only too happy to package a romance between you and some unattached starlet for Movietone News.

The guys in this week's cartoon have their own ideas concerning the back story behind the phantom girlfriend. They come from a generation of gays for which having a "beard" was common enough -- although I could have cast closeted sports figures in this cartoon instead. I'm sure I wouldn't get into any trouble doing that.

Monday, January 21, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

I usually use these Sneak Peek entries to display a snippet from my own cartoon for the week, but this week, I'd like to make an exception to link to Matt Bors's January 21 cartoon.
Matt BorsJan 21, 2013
Matt isn't making the story up. From the Chicago Tribune article, if you haven't heard about this story already:
A 19-year-old Northbrook woman died of an apparent suicide nine days after telling University of Notre Dame police that she had been sexually attacked by a football player in a dorm room, the Tribune has learned. ... More than two months later, Notre Dame refuses to publicly acknowledge the case, and what actions university officials have taken to investigate her allegation remain largely unknown.
Campus authorities did not tell the St. Joseph County Police Department investigating [the woman]'s death about her report of a sexual attack, county officials said. Nor did they refer the case to the county's special victims unit, which was established to handle sex offenses, according to prosecutors.
My own cartoon will considerably more frivolous. See you on Wednesday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Midwinter's Sneak Peek

Grey skies, cold weather, short days, and the Weather Channel naming snow storms got you down?

Tune in on Wednesday for this week's Q Syndicate cartoon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Q toon: Surrender, Dorothy

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
÷Jan 9, 2013
This week's cartoon concerns a case in Kansas involving a lesbian couple who advertised on Craigslist for a sperm donor so that they could conceive a child in 2009. William Marotta responded to the ad posted by Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer.
The [sperm] donation was given under a written agreement that Marotta would not have parental rights and so not be considered the father of the child or liable for child support. However, when Schreiner and Bauer ran into money difficulties in 2012 an application for child support was made to the Department of Children and Families (DFC)...
In the state of Kansas when a child support claim is filed, the DFC is legally bound to find the biological father and petition him to pay. Kansas state is therefore seeking to have Marotta declared the father of the child and made financially responsible for her welfare, irrespective of the previous contract made between Marotta, Schreiner and Bauer.
Part of the problem legally is that Schreiner and Bauer's daughter was conceived at their home, rather than with a medical doctor acting as middle man.
The Topeka couple initially tried to obtain a specimen from a cryobank in Chicago, Bauer said, but ran into trouble with their family practitioner. The doctor refused to sign a release stating the couple capable of raising a child, she said. ... 
The women decided to inseminate Schreiner at their home, Bauer said, partly because of their previous awkward encounter with the doctor, but primarily because they wanted the act to be more personal.
The couple had no idea home insemination would have any bearings on parenting rights of the child, Bauer said.
Apparently, there is legal precedent that had a medical practitioner inseminated Ms. Schreiner via artificial insemination methods, Mr. Marotta would not be financially responsible for the resulting child -- at least in the state of California (even if they had had sexual relations before!).
In Steven S. v. Deborah D. (2005), a California appellate court held that the sperm provider was a donor with no parental status because the child was conceived by artificial insemination performed by a physician.  The donor argued that he and the mother had attempted to conceive by sexual intercourse prior to this insemination and that the mother acknowledged him and the father and allowed him to celebrate the child’s birth.  Nonetheless, the court concluded that the statute was clear and provision of the semen to a physician extinguished his potential rights as a father.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to conceive!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

In honor of Elvis Pressley's natal day, here's the one and only cartoon I've ever drawn him in (from the earliest days of the Bill Clinton's first run for the presidency, after he and Hillary had gone on TV to talk about whether he had a proclivity for extramarital affairs):
This paragraph in the page 2 feature, Spivak and Bice, is as close as I've ever gotten to having a cartoon in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Monday, January 7, 2013

First Sneak Peek of 2013

The holidays are over, and I'm back to posting cartoons within mere days of their having been drawn.

In other news, Go, Pack, Go!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mr. Hormel Goes to Luxembourg

I mentioned yesterday that former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg used one of my cartoons in his memoir. It may well be this one, the original of which I sent to Mr. Hormel in 1999 at the request of his staff:

I drew this cartoon upon President Clinton's recess appointment of Hormel, which is why the senators (Trent Lott, Jesse Helms and Robert C. Smith) are shown on vacation at the beach.

As for the Ambassador's costume, that stems from the allegation that he was anti-Catholic, based on some San Francisco TV footage of him chuckling off-camera as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence skated by during a parade.

None of these senators are still in the Senate; Helms, of course, has passed on. The staffer who wrote me expressed a wish that Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) had been in the cartoon, feeling that Inhofe had been leading the opposition to Hormel's appointment. Inhofe is still in the Senate, and I have had occasion to draw cartoons about his antigay statements and votes from time to time; I think that I did include him in an earlier cartoon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Q Toon: D'OD!

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
÷Jan 2, 2013
Because of holiday vacation schedules at Q Syndicate, I drew this week's cartoon a couple weeks ago. From that vantage point, I had no idea whether the trial balloon of former Senator Chuck Hagel's rumored nomination as Secretary of Defense would still be afloat in the new year; so I tried to come up with a formulation that would stand whether or not he was still being considered for the job.

The cartoons for the last two weeks have centered on current and former U.S. Senators who have appeared on television a lot, but haven't been the subject of a lot of editorial cartoons. Looking back, I think I needed to elongate Hagel's face and to shorten Lindsey Graham's. I think allowing Hagel's eyebrows to curve back down was a mistake. If I ever draw him again, I think I'll leave them angling upward.

It might have been helpful to leaf through the work of Paul Fell of the Lincoln Journal Star -- although he doesn't add keywords to his cartoons on the AAEC site, so it's not to easy to search for his drawings of any particular Nebraska pol.* A Google search turns up cartoons by Steve Brodner and  a Neal Obermeyer. I love Brodner's work, but he sometimes sees people very differently from you or I.

Now, for the benefit of those readers who don't recall what the reference to an American ambassador to Luxembourg is about -- which is probably nearly everybody (Quick! Name any living American ambassador to any country anywhere!) -- back in 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated San Francisco philanthropist, Democratic party donor, and heir to the Spam fortune James Hormel to be his ambassador to Luxembourg, a grand duchy wedged in between France, Germany and Belgium. (That's in Europe, got it?)

Pat Robertson's TV station broadcast a scurrilous report alleging that Clinton was sending a known supporter of pedophilia and pornography to be our ambassador to Luxembourg. He was accused of being anti-Catholic. A number of Republican senators announced their opposition to the appointment -- and after Clinton made a recess appointment of Hormel in 1999 over their objections, senators continued to protest that at the very least, Hormel should not be allowed to bring his partner, Timothy Wu, along. Or that Wu should be made to use only the service entrance under cover of darkness, wearing a full burqa and speaking to no one.

I drew a couple cartoons about these senators, such as Howell Hefflin of Alabama, Robert Smith of New Hampshire, and of course, North Carolina's Jesse Helms -- who had faces rich for caricature. Ambassador Hormel has included one of my cartoons in his memoir of these events, Fit to Serve: Reflections on a Secret Life, Private Struggle, and a Public Battle to Become the First Openly Gay U.S. Ambassador.
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* Update: A day after my cartoon was posted, Fell posted his take on Chuck Hagel being hung out to dry.