Thursday, March 31, 2016

Q Toon: Along Came a Spider

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
🕸Mar 31, 2016
Last week, the North Carolina legislature met in a hastily called emergency session — the first in 35 years — to rush through HB2, a bill scuttling Charlotte's LGBT rights ordinance (and blocking any other local attempts to deviate from conservative dictates). Equally hastily, Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill before the civil rights and business communities could raise their objections. 

The 2016 convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists is scheduled to meet in Durham, North Carolina this fall. It's a good thing that I can't attend anyway, because I would be hard pressed to justify spending my LGBT money in the Tar Heel state at this point.

But if it helps The Cause, very well then: let's say I am boycotting the AAEC's North Carolina convention this year at great personal sacrifice in protest of North Carolina's Transgender Bladder and Employee Wage Suppression Law. I extend my deepest apologies to V. Cullum and Jape, but there might as well be a principled stance behind my absence.

I'm sure you two will understand.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

100 Years Ago: The Punitive Expedition

Judging from the date on this March 16, 1916 front page of the Chicago Daily News, Salsaback Saturday last week was focused on the wrong World War.

But let's overlook for a moment the sinking of the Dutch steamer Tubantia and even the front page editorial cartoon by Luther Bradley of Benedict Arnold bemoaning his lost opportunity of getting into Congress to block preparedness. We'll get back to WWI in a minute.

100 years ago this month, the U.S. Army chased Pancho Villa (José Doroteo Arango Arámbula) into Mexico. Villa, who had earlier received some support from the American government in his country's on-going civil war, had led guerrilla raids against American interests since January in hopes of undermining the government of Mexico's provisional President Venustiano Carranza. In the early morning of March 9, Villa and his force of 500 men  attacked Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 people (ten civilians and eight soldiers) and setting fire to the town.

Villa's guerrillas were driven out of the town by the superior weaponry of the 13th U.S. Cavalry. On March 13, Carranza’s government agreed to recognize the American right to “hot pursuit,” giving U.S. President Wilson the green light to send 6,000 men under the command of General John “Black Jack” Pershing after Villa.
Cartoon by Clifford Berryman, March 10, 1916
Uncle Sam: "I've Had About Enough of This"

Gen. Pershing's "Punitive Expedition" into Mexico would last until the following February, but was wearing out its welcome by April. This next cartoon by the Australian cartoonist David Henry Souter for the Stock Journal noting three headlines ("Mexico Has Declared War on the United States," "All Americans Have Been Ordered to Leave Mexico," and "The Fighting Has Begun and Americans Killed") dates from June, 1916:
Uncle Sam: "Stop clicking that pesky typewriter, Woodrow; I want to hear myself shoot."

The cartoon refers to the many letters of protest the U.S. President had sent the German Kaiser to protest attacks on Atlantic shipping. The cartoon also seems to predict the German Foreign Ministry's invitation for Mexico to join the Central Powers were the U.S. to join the allies (the Zimmerman telegram was decoded in January, 1917); it looks to me that Pancho Villa is riding a dachshund.

Contrary to the above cartoon, Mexico did not actually declare war on the United States, although the Mexican Army did attack the 13th Cavalry at Parral, Chihuahua, on April 12, and the Mexican and U.S. Armies fought a serious but indecisive battle at Carrizal, Chihuahua, on June 21. Negotiations between the two countries brought them back from the brink of war; and Pershing and his soldiers were withdrawn to the U.S. in time to head for the war in Europe.

The U.S. never did capture Villa, even though the Army tried yet again after WWI.
Cartoon by Sidney J. Greene, November, 1916; apparently a reference to a cartoon he'd drawn of Roosevelt four years earlier.
"Breaking In Again."
Teddy Roosevelt: "This is no place for me!"

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Q Toon: Deal Or No Deal?

As a cartoonist, I love sitting down to my drawing board when I have a subject who is ripe for caricature.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
🕆Mar 24, 2016

No, I don't mean Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. He's got a face like a bowl of grits.

I'll probably never have another reason to draw Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, but his face has all the definition a caricaturist could ever want. If Hollywood wanted to cast someone to play the president, generalissimo, or financier of Greece, Italy, or a Latin American country circa 1972, his face would be perfect.

In case you haven't been following Georgia politics lately, the state legislature has passed what they call a "Free Exercise Protection Act," which doesn't do anything to ensure the safety of weight lifters and joggers. Rather, it purports to protect discrimination against same-sex couples by anyone who professes "sincerely held religious beliefs" as the basis for denying housing, employment, or other services to people they don't like.

Blank's Atlanta Falcons have been pushing for a new football stadium in the hopes of hosting the Superbowl soon after it is finished, but now the NFL has announced that the league will not site any Superbowl in the state of Georgia if Deal signs the Free Exercise Protection Act into law.

Considering that, Blank, not surprisingly, opposes the Georgia bill.
"I strongly believe a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Georgia is critical to our citizens and the millions of visitors coming to enjoy all that our great state has to offer,” Blank said in a statement. “House Bill 757 undermines these principles and would have long-lasting negative impact on our state and the people of Georgia."
Disney, film production companies, tech firms, and even Coca-Cola — Coca-Cola! — have also threatened to pull out of the state over FEPA.

Governor Deal has until May 3 to decide whether sincerely held religious beliefs are trumped by sincerely held economic ones.

Monday, March 21, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek


For the sake of this week's cartoon, Governor Deal can take a few more days before he decides whether or not to put that enormous pen to that bill.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Postwar World: George Shellhase

Well, enough about me. It's been ages since St.-Joseph's-back Saturday flipped through the pages of A Bird's-Eye View of the Postwar World, so today we take a quick look at a spread of cartoons by George Shellhase. Embiggenate at will.

The work of George Mann Shellhase (1895-1988) appeared in publications such as Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Esquire, The New Yorker and The New York Times in the 1930s through 60s. He also sketched trials for the New York Herald Tribune.

And, okay, so I already posted that first page last summer. I couldn't think of any other theme for this second page of his cartoons.
"It`s best to be born with real talent," the chiefly self-taught Shellhase, who sold his first drawing at age 14, once advised aspiring artists. "Next, learn to love the art of drawing and draw, draw, draw. Love the great beauties of nature. ... Experiment with enthusiasm the infinite variety of nature`s designs and forms. Love humanity and interpret at your best the many events that unfold before your eyes each day."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Q Toon: The Price of Admission

Well, it's about time I drew a cartoon about Hillary Rodham Clinton again.
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Mar 17, 2016

One of the commentaries I read this week compared Hillary Clinton's self-inflicted problems to Joe Biden's reputation as the Great Gaffesby. But while Biden's loose talk comes across as candor, Clinton's somehow does not. One gets the impression that, for example, the remark about not knowing where Bernie Sanders was during her 1993-94 fight for health care reform came out of her campaign War Room and was carefully tested with a focus group before she said it on stage.

On the other hand, her "We didn't lose a single person in Libya" remark this week, a gift-wrapped present to the Republican witch hunters, would have been nixed by any semi-sentient human being in the Clinton campaign organization. And Siri, Alexa, or even Magic 8-Ball could have told her to avoid praising the Reagan's "effective, low-key advocacy" on HIV/AIDS.

On that topic, there was another cartoon I could have included in last Saturday's post remembering Nancy Reagan, drawn right after the one of Nancy answering the phone while Ronnie played with his Star Wars. Nancy Reagan wasn't in this February, 1987 cartoon, but her anti-drugs slogan was central:

But getting back to Hillary Clinton and the Joe Biden comparison: what if Hillary Clinton's gaffes this month are part of a carefully scripted plan to counter the perception of her that she's always carefully scripted?
(Clinton cameo appearance on Broad City last night)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Blowing in the Wind

WITI-TV 6 News photo
The Wisconsin Assembly and Senate have passed a bill (AB730/SB601) prohibiting local communities from banning plastic grocery bags. Republicans passed the bills on party line votes: 63-35 in the Assembly and 19-13 in the Senate.

No Wisconsin communities have such bans, but it's yet another example of so-called "small-government Republicans" in Madison usurping the powers of citizens at the local level.

Monday, March 14, 2016

This Wicked Sneak Peek


Honest, folks -- I may still be struggling to find my Hillary, but I do know what color palette to use for her skin tone. Somehow in converting this frame of the cartoon from jpeg to gif, she got greenified.

I must be celebrating St. Patrick's Day a little early this week.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Remembering Nancy

At the risk of having Settleback Saturday fall into a rut, I'm hauling a few of my own old cartoons out of the archives yet again -- this time remembering former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

I have seldom drawn cartoons about First Ladies of the United States, except in the cases of Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. (You may recall one of Nancy Reagan's appearances in a Supreme Court cartoon I posted just a couple Saturdays ago.) Mrs. Reagan came to the White House determined to redecorate; she was front and center in the anti-drug "Just Say No" campaign; and was a force for others in the administration to reckon with to a degree not seen since Eleanor Roosevelt or Edith Wilson.
Edith Wilson might be the more relevant example. We now know that President Reagan was showing signs of Alzheimer's Disease as early as 1984. Nancy Reagan may not have been the one taking his calls ... at least not that we know of.

This is a fragment of a never-completed cartoon on an Alice in Wonderland theme. Nancy Reagan was widely considered to be the force behind the firing of President Reagan's longtime friend Donald Regan as White House Chief of Staff in 1987. She felt that he was mishandling the Iran/Contra scandal, and he chafed at her astrology-based demands regarding her husband's schedule. Regan allegedly got the boot after having abruptly hung up on the First Lady.

Regan complained publicly about Nancy and her astrologer, Joan Quigley, in his 1988 memoir, For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington: "Virtually every major move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House Chief of Staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise."

Except for the one at the top of this post, I've chosen cartoons from the last two years of the Reagan administration. I'll wrap up with this cartoon of the Reagans taking their curtain call with several administration members from the previous eight years. It's not a particularly unique take on the end of the Reagan administration, I'll admit. Had I not drawn this cartoon while away from home and reference sources at an out-of-state family funeral, the cartoon would have worked better if the set had looked more like the Oval Office.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Canadian Exports Happen

At least, I fervently hope so.

In case you missed it, I'm riffing here on the good-natured ribbing between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Obama at the White House this week:
"Now, I don't want to gloss over the very real differences between Americans and Canadians. There are some things we will probably never agree on. Whose beer is better? Who's better at hockey?" Obama joked. "Where's the Stanley Cup right now? I'm sorry, is it in my hometown, with the Chicago Blackhawks?"
Trudeau responded by saying, "there's a high demand for Canadian goods down here. A few that come to mind that President Obama just rightly recognized as being extraordinary contributors to the American success story [are] Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Q Toon: Need for Speed

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✑Mar 10, 2016

North Carolina is the latest state where lawmakers are pushing legislation to overrule municipal ordinances protecting LGBT rights.This is in response to LGBT protections passed by the Charlotte city council in February.

As in Arkansas, Michigan and other states where these laws have been proposed (by some weird coincidence, always by Republicans), the argument is often that having different standards from one locality to another is confusing; therefore, the government mandates conformity to the most negligible level of protections as the statewide rule.

Monday, March 7, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek


I promise that this week's cartoon is safe for viewing by children of all ages, unlike certain presidential candidates.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Hazard of Duke

It's Schutzstaffelback Saturday again, so let's travel back in time to the late 20th Century. Because this is not the first time former Klan leader David Duke has been an embarrassment to the Republican Party.

In 1988, Duke actually did run for president as a Democrat, then as a Populist, switching his party affiliation to Republican that December. It was as a Republican that Duke was elected to the Louisiana legislature in a special election in 1989 (my cartoon about that is here). The next year, he ran for Louisiana's seat in the U.S. Senate and polled ahead of Republican Party-endorsed Ben Bagert; to avoid a run-off between Duke and the Democratic incumbent J. Bennett Johnston Jr., the GOP pressured Bagert into withdrawing from the race. Johnston won reelection.

Duke was back again in 1991, running this time for Governor. This time, he beat incumbent Republican Buddy Roemer in the primary, forcing a run-off between Duke and the ethically challenged Democrat, former Governor Edwin Edwards.
The most compelling argument in Edwards' favor was a bumper sticker that read, "Vote for the crook. It's Important." Edwards joked that the only thing he and Duke had in common "is that we both have been wizards beneath the sheets" and that being around so many burning crosses must have been bad for Duke's health.

Polls predicted an Edwards victory, but Duke countered that his supporters were merely reluctant to be honest to pollsters. In the end, a record 1 million votes were cast for the twice-indicted former Governor, versus only 671,000 for the klansman.

Duke tried running for President in 1992, this time as a Republican; but the GOP fought to keep him off the ballot, and there was already a much more prominent national figure who could appeal to the Duke Voter.

The high point of Duke's career was already behind him. Duke would later join the Reform Party to work on Pat Buchanan's 2000 presidential campaign. (Donald Trump explored running for the Reform Party nomination that year as well, but dropped out to host "The Apprentice" instead.) Since then, he has offered his support to various fascist and anti-Semitic politicians in Europe and the Near East.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Donald Drumpf Carries a Toon

Now, if only I could have worked P.T. "There's A Sucker Born Every Minute" Barnum into this cartoon, I'd have a trifecta.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Mar 4, 2016

This past week, Donald Trump, whose mouth charges headlong into all sorts of rash statements, had a hard time deciding whether to renounce the support of David Duke. Duke is a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and former state representative from Metairie, Louisiana; he ran unsuccessfully for Congress and the governorship. (I'll have more on him in this blog tomorrow.)

Trump supporters have been desperately trying to tie the KKK to the Democratic Party lately. The KKK certainly was part of the Democratic coalition back in the days of buggy whips and flivvers -- even though that coalition also included Jews, Catholics and labor unions, groups the KKK has always been dead set against.

But as Democrats began to embrace the civil rights movement from the 1940s on, racists like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms started to leave the party, bringing the KKK along with them. That exodus grew from a trickle to a flood as Democrats became the party of Civil Rights and Republicans became the party of Southern Strategy. The Republican Party doesn't like to talk openly about their racist supporters, but has been happy to have their votes.

And now the Donald has gained the support of another erstwhile embarrassment to the Democratic Party, Louis Farrakhan. And to think I doubted Republicans' talk of having a "big tent."

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Q Toon: Oscar Bait

Accepting his Oscar for Best Song on Sunday night, Sam Smith referred to a comment Sir Ian McKellen had made about no there having never been any out LGBT nominees. Smith didn't quite get it right -- McKellen was talking only about the Best Acting categories (Dustin Lance Black and Stephen Sondheim being two notable winners in off-camera categories).

But there is a reason why #OscarsSoStraight...
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
🖎Mar. 3, 2016

If I had several more panels to fill, there are a lot of other straight actors playing gay whom I would like to have included: Ving Rhames, John Leguizamo, Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Will Smith, Tom Selleck, Andy Samberg and on and on...

It's a long list, and I couldn't even fit in all the ones who were up for Oscars for their bravery in playing gay (although, regrettably, the decision to use that criterion for whom to include kept the list very caucasian). On the other hand, the longer the list, the more likely that someone who is perhaps at the very least bisexual, just not "out," would be on it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

But Not Here

How do you, as an editor at a major newspaper in your state, put Wednesday's front page together when your state is an outlier on "Super Tuesday"?