Thursday, February 26, 2015

Q Toon: Dogpatch, Arkansas

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Feb 26, 2015

Last week, the Arkansas legislature passed SB202, a bill by State Senator Bart Hester (R-Benton Co.) nullifying any local anti-discrimination ordinances which include LGBT Arkansans.
Arkansas on Monday banned local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, becoming the second state to adopt a measure opponents call a thinly-veiled move to discriminate against gays and lesbians. ... The measure was introduced in reaction to a Fayetteville ordinance that voters repealed in December expanding the city's anti-discrimination protections. Eureka Springs in northwest Arkansas enacted a similar measure earlier this month, and Little Rock elected officials are weighing expanding that city's discrimination protections.
Sen. Hester is one of those Big Government Conservatives; he previously co-authored a bill requiring houses of worship to admit handguns into their sanctuaries. He claimed that SB202 was needed to prevent a patchwork quilt of anti-discrimination laws hindering business and industry, in spite of the thundering silence on that count from business and industry.
The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce told ThinkProgress last week, “We have no position on that piece of legislation.” Walmart, which is based in Arkansas and has corporate LGBT protections, only spoke out on the bill Monday evening, mere hours before it was to become law without Hutchinson’s signature. Tyson Foods, another prominent Arkansas business that protects its gay employees, remained silent on the legislation.
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-Of Course) expressed "concerns about the loss of local control," but allowed the bill to go into effect without his signature anyway.

Meanwhile, a similar pro-discrimination law is already on the books in Tennessee, and another has been proposed in West Virginia.

Monday, February 23, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peek

We're keeping to an animal theme this week. Yesterday's cartoon was for everyone in Boston who finds this winter hard to bear.

Tune in in a couple days to find out what else has got my goat.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Toon: Whatever the Weather

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Feb 22, 2015

It has been a brutal winter up and down the East Coast of the U.S. Boston, Massachusetts is suffering under almost 100" (2.5 meters) of snow as we seem to be stuck in a loop this year of one storm after another pounding New England.

Meanwhile up in Alaska, the starting point of this year's Iditarod dogsled race will be moved for only the second time ever due to a lack of snow. (And I'd like to point out that I only read the story at that link when I was writing this blog entry, after drawing this cartoon.)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Q Toon: Ten Moore Commandments

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. “Ginny” Granade ruled that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Alabama's chief justice, Roy Moore, responded by instructing his state's judges and civic officials that they were to ignore the federal ruling. Moore's theory is that federal courts "lack authority" to rule on state laws.

In a later interview, he went so far as to pledge to defy the U.S. Supreme Court if it should rule in favor of marriage equality this year:
“This power over marriage, which came from God under our organic law, is not to be redefined by the United States Supreme Court or any federal court,” Justice Moore told “Fox News Sunday.” ... “I would not be bound thereby.”
As I noted Tuesday, Moore came to national attention by insisting upon erecting a graven image of the Ten Commandments at the Alabama Judicial Building; so that's where I went for this week's cartoon:
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Feb 19, 2015

The man has been on a lifelong moral crusade to establish a Christian caliphate. In his 1999 campaign for the Chief Justiceship, he charged that the decline of Christianist hegemony
"corresponded directly with school violence, homosexuality, and crime." His message was identical to the one in his previous race: "We must return God to our public life and restore the moral foundation of our law."
Notice how homosexuality is lumped in there between school violence and crime?

Moore's antigay animus returned to the fore in D.H. v. H.H., a custody dispute before his court in 2002. A divorced lesbian had sued for custody of her children, alleging abuse by her ex-husband. A circuit court in Alabama had ruled in favor of the father, but the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals overturned that verdict 4-1, finding that substantial evidence existed of abusive behavior by the father.

But as far as Moore was concerned, the abusive father's behavior was nothing compared to that of the sinful lesbian mother:
"Homosexual behavior is a ground for divorce, an act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one's ability to describe it. That is enough under the law to allow a court to consider such activity harmful to a child. To declare that homosexuality is harmful is not to make new law but to reaffirm the old; to say that it is not harmful is to experiment with people's lives, particularly the lives of children."
One can only hope, thirteen years later, that Moore's little experiment in seeing whether those children would fare well under the roof of that abusive father was not as harmful as any sane person would expect it to be.

And that even Alabama can evolve into a civilized society in which it is the abusive father, not the lesbian mother, whose behavior is considered "an inherent evil, ... so heinous that it defies one's ability to describe it."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Judge Roy Moore from the Archives

For background, here's a cartoon I drew about Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore back in 2004, when he was bound and determined to erect a graven image of the Ten Commandments at the state Supreme Court building.
His defenders, and others when this sort of issue comes up, like to argue that such commandments as "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal" are universally accepted by Judeo-Christians and heathens alike. But not all of us who try personally to live by all ten commandments believe that the government has any business imposing the first three on everybody.

And the police have better things to do than haul folks off to jail for coveting their neighbor's ass.

Monday, February 16, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peek


Coming later this week: some guy in a bathrobe carrying a poor excuse for an eye chart.

Or maybe that's an I chart.

Get it? Get it?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The War on Valentines Day


For all you young lovers on Valentines Day, wherever you are, here's a little cartoon I drew in 2006.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Q Toon: Exclusive Photo!

We had a major family event planned this past Sunday, the day of the week when I usually draw my syndicated cartoons, so I was busy drawing on Saturday. After so many weeks drawing about marriage equality (directly or tangentially), I had decided to draw a not terribly serious cartoon about erstwhile Olympian, now infotainment spectacle Bruce Jenner. I managed to come up with a caricature that, while not particularly flattering, I was rather pleased with, so I was feeling good about the cartoon.

I was nearly halfway done inking the cartoon when a story came on the evening news came that Jenner had been involved in a car accident resulting in the death of a woman in one of the other cars.

There was no way I could go forward with plans to run that cartoon any more.

I spent a good hour or two desperately scouring the internets for other topics I could draw something about, but I couldn't get away from the story that had stopped me cold.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Feb 12, 2015
It was those photographs with the TMZ watermark of the moments immediately leading up to and including the crash itself that did it. I'm not buying the Los Angeles police statement that the crash was not the fault of the paparazzi. You don't have to be chased by a handful of cars jockeying for position around you and sticking telephoto lenses out their windows at you to be distracted by them.

That unfinished cartoon goes back in the folder. Maybe I'll finish it one of these days -- I've already heard one late-night comedian toss off a Jenner reference as if there wasn't a funeral this week (and Mike Luckovich apparently thought enough time had passed to release today's cartoon) -- or maybe I'll use the idea in a cartoon about somebody else.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Well, I'll Be Gobsmacked

We interrupt this blog to bring you another installment from A Bird's-Eye View of the Postwar World (compiled by R. M. Barrows and Margaret Foster, Consolidated Book Publishers, 1945).

As we've been observing in this series, our foretoonists 70 years ago were fascinated by the idea that flight would be a commonplace, everyday mode of travel. Imagine how this aviation revolution would be seen by remote, primitive societies beyond the reach of modern civilization (click the cartoon to embiggenize)!
It was all well and good back in 1945 to suppose that Eb and Zeke would accept the arrival of advanced beings from the skies with reasoned calm. This was decades before the Prime Directive, after all.

What cartoonist Don Ulsh couldn't foresee was that the descendants of these primitive hillbillies would develop wildly fantastic mythologies about sinister forces driving those black helicopters.
Black Helicopters (BH) are not just helicopters with a black paint-job as you may have been told. They are, in fact, autonomous agents -- lifeforms -- created by New World Order (NWO) agencies via nanobiotechnology. Their primary purpose is to spy on the activities of average citizens in order to gather tactical information and discover "subversives" who are not bowing to the will of the Liberati's UN-backed Federal Government. Furthermore, when the NWO Invasion takes place in the not-too-distant future, they will round up citizens for internment in concentration camps or carry out the elimination of the more vocally anti-Liberati.
The truth is out there. Way out there.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Q Toon: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington


I'm not a fan of exceptionally wordy cartoons, but when one is taking a fairly obscure Congressman to task for a comment to an equally obscure administration official, it's quite likely that the story didn't get a lot of attention on the nightly news or comedy shows, and a good deal of explanation is in order.

So here's the cartoon:
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Feb 5, 2015
Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) is chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee, where he questioned the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Jackson, last week. Smith brushed off anyone's concerns about LGBT rights on the world's second largest continent:
"There are fundamental differences in the United States over the whole LGBT issue. I am a strong believer in traditional marriage, and do not construe 'homosexual rights' as 'human rights.'"
On the same day, Nigerian sharia police arrested twelve men on charges of celebrating a "gay wedding." Two weeks earlier, an Egyptian court had acquitted 26 men arrested at a public bathhouse only after their televised arrests had been splashed all over news and social media. Up and down the continent, governments, abetted by sensationalist news media, are whipping up hatred against lesbians and gays as a way to distract their citizens from poverty, tribal and religious rivalries, and their own kleptocracies.

Various LGBT advocacy groups have criticized Smith for his dismissive attitude toward the persecution of gays and lesbians from Algeria to Zimbabwe. Fellow subcommittee member David Cicilline (D-RI and openly gay) also responded to Smith:
"I would like to address these comments and clarify that the official position of the U.S. government is: all people have basic human rights. Regardless of their race, sex, disability, age, political opinion, or religion, they are entitled to the very fundamental right to be themselves, free from persecution. This includes people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Is For Avionics

While we're waiting for this week's cartoon, let's check in again with A Bird's Eye Look at the Postwar World and see who's parachuting in now.

In this cartoon (you can embiggen it before going on to read the rest of this sentence if you like) by Marvin Townsend, it's Junior coming home from school.

This is a long shot, but perhaps if baby boomers had indeed gotten to and from school in B-52s, there wouldn't have been such a fuss about busing back in the 1960s and 70s. Part of the argument against it, as I recall, hinged on what inordinate amounts of time kids ended up spending riding the bus across town and back again. Air bus flights would have drastically cut those travel times.

Of course, nowadays, the kids would have to arrive at the air bus station at least two hours before their scheduled flight in order to check their bookbags, be prescreened against no-fly lists, and line up to empty their pockets into the gray plastic tray and go through the body scanner.

By the way, check out the urban sprawl in this cartoon!

Monday, February 2, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peek


One thing editors dislike about editorial cartoons as opposed to the op-eds on the rest of the page is that correcting little spelling errors is more complicated.