Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Q Toon: Stocks Make a Comeback

This week's cartoon would have had more oomph if Rick Santorum hadn't managed to fritter away his lead in the Michigan polls with a lousy debate performance and those truly goofy remarks about President Kennedy and the snobbishness of a college education. And then there was his open appeal for Democratic crossover votes; with all the talk in the media about how Romney needed a convincing win in Michigan or it would show how weak his candidacy is, I wonder why I never heard anything about how anything less than an overwhelming Santorum win there would mean that he had only won due to crossover mischief.

You do have to wonder why Santorum thought that criticizing JFK was a good idea. That kind of talk just might sell in the Bible Belt -- maybe -- but a lot of Catholic voters up north still revere the assassinated president. Even if they're rock-ribbed pro-life Republicans today. And saying that college education is for snobs? Even voters who haven't been to college themselves are likely to aspire to sending their children there.

Well, anyway, here's a cartoon about returning America to the 1650's, when everybody lived according to Christian morals whether they liked it or not, and folks didn't send their kids to snobby colleges, and JFK couldn't have been elected president. But I think the guy in the stocks on the right might have a difference of opinion about the 1950's not having been so bad.

Monday, February 27, 2012

This Week's Sneak Peek

Suffice it to say that Hester will not be showing off her right leg at the Oscars any time soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Q Toon: Who's Your Sweet Babeu?

This has been a story made for cable news, but of less interest to print media -- outside of Phoenix New Times, which broke the story in the first place. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu was thrust out of the closet after a relationship went sour. His ex, a Mexican immigrant named Jose Orozco, suspected that Babeu was trolling the internet for sex, and stung him by arranging a rendez-vous under a fake identity on line.

(Originally, I wasn't going to include the boyfriend's name in this cartoon, but decided that the name Jose helped clarify that I wasn't trying to gloss over his being, say, Swedish. In the last couple days, however, Orozco's full name and photo have been made public on line and on television, so I will not keep referring to him as "the boyfriend" here. I should also explain that I use the word "illegal" in the cartoon instead of "undocumented" on the assumption that Babeu would favor such terminology.)

Babeu has denied the accusation that he threatened to expose that Orozco was in the U.S. illegally if he ever went public with their relationship. Babeu has, however, come out of the closet as a gay man as a result of the story, which he says is a relief to him.

We'll have to see how this affects his candidacy to represent Arizona's fourth district in Congress. He may be hurt less for the revelation that he's gay (this was once Jim Kolbe's district, after all) than by the incongruity of his relationship with Jose with his record as a hardliner against illegal immigration. Babeu first came to national attention four years ago as the sheriff walking beside John McCain in the "Build the Dang Fence" ad:

It isn't just the sexual relationship that conflicts with Babeu's record on immigration: he also employed Orozco to create and maintain his internet presence (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If you need a moment to let that sink in, here it is again: the guy who went on national TV to decry undocumented immigrants in this country was simultaneously employing a guy he knew to be an undocumented immigrant to work for him.

Giving Orozco that job may have been what ultimately came back to bite Babeu in the ass: Orozco became suspicious of Babeu once he found the sheriff's accounts on gay dating sites Adam4Adam and Chino Valley E-news.

Buried deep in the New Times story is a development that may embarrass openly gay Democratic congressional candidate Matt Heinz. After Heinz broke with his party in the Arizona legislature to vote to allocate $5 million to combat border violence in Pinal County -- which is 70 miles away from the Mexican border -- one of Babeu's text messages that Orozco released reports that Babeu planned to spend the night with Heinz and his partner. (Note: The allocation was reduced to $1.7 million in the final bill.) Perhaps after a night of clubbing with the Heinzes, Babeu was simply being prudent by not driving home; but the implication of something further could doom both of their campaigns to succeed Gabby Giffords in Congress.

Monday, February 20, 2012

This Week's Sneak Peek

This may come as a disappointment to editors in Washington, Maryland, or New Jersey who were expecting a locally relevant cartoon this week. But I was in the mood to get off the subject of marriage equality for at least one week.

Happy George Washington's Birthday, federales everywhere!

Friday, February 17, 2012

What a Bunch of Dicks! (The Sequel)

We've all seen the photo of the wall of men testifying before Darrell Issa's committee yesterday on why the Fedrul Gummint shouldn't interfere with the Catholic Church's control over women's reproductive health.

From columnist Connie Schultz, here's a screen capture of the discussion of that event on MSNBC's Morning Joe today:

Never Mind.

The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that "according to people familiar with the show," taping of the Colbert Report was suspended Wednesday and Thursday due to an emergency in his family.

I suppose that if the emergency hiatus had been due to the contraceptive segment, as I had speculated yesterday, the likes of Bill Donahue and the other professionally offended media watchdogs would be crowing about their success in cowing Comedy Central, CBS, Viacom, and the Greater Secularist Conspiracy. Likewise, it would seem out of character for the Daily Show not to mention a contretemps between the Colbert Show and the network brass, and they haven't dropped a hint of it.

So let's hope there is nothing tragic going on chez Colbert, and wish the family our best in coming through this emergency.

P.S.: It's been a while since Editorial Explanations has been baffled by my cartoons, but this week's oeuvre breaks the easily-understood streak. I had rather thought it might do so, since I was so stingy with labels, but at least one reader has ventured an accurate guess.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whither Steven Colbert?

Like many Comedy Central viewers and the folks who lined up to see last night's Colbert Report, I was surprised to find Wednesday night's episode cancelled. Comedy Central and Viacom are not saying why Stephen Colbert has been indefinitely suspended, but the fact that Tuesday night's episode is not available on the Comedy Central web site indicates to me that it's an issue of something he said or did on that show, rather than some personal or health issue.

The prime suspect would have to be the segment titled "Contraceptive Crusade," satirizing the dispute between the Obama administration on one side and the Catholic Church and Republicans opposed to "Obamacare" on the other.

Colbert described the Catholic church's stand on sex as being strictly for procreation, involving the sperm from a male husband, the egg from a female wife, and a soul from God in a  "divine and ineffably beautiful three-way." In a joke that somehow got past CBS censors, Colbert further explained Catholic teaching that contraception of any kind is anathema, because, "when you use contraception, you are not only sinning, you're cock-blocking the Almighty!"

Continuing, if you didn't get the joke that Rick Santorum's opinion that the administration's contraceptive insurance mandate puts our rights on a slippery "or lubricated" slope, well you haven't googled the ex-Senator in a long time. But you couldn't have possibly missed the phallic imagery of Colbert sliding a condom over a banana, then standing behind it as, at crotch height, he cut it in half with a miniature guillotine.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Q Toon: No, #8

Justices of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week continued the legal trend of finding marriage discrimination against same-sex couples unconstitutional.

Maggie Gallagher of NOM, and the others of her ilk, are wont to point out that wherever marriage equality has been put on the ballot, it has been defeated. Wherever it has been judged in the courts, the opposite is true.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Week's Sneak Peek

There's Justice for you. And in honor of Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, both breasts are covered.

Happy Valentines Day to all you lovers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ptoon: Obamacare Redux

Okay, I know I said some disparaging things about drawing cartoons for free. But I had to spend an afternoon in a waiting room this weekend and started doodling. I went ahead and finished the cartoon, and here it is.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New York Times Weekly Cartoon Contest

The Sunday New York Times has just announced its new editorial cartoon contest! It has invited 80 top editorial cartoonists in the country to send in a completed editorial cartoon every Friday by 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The Times editors will select one cartoon to run in that Sunday's paper and award the winner a $250 prize.

The Times will require that it retain exclusive rights to the winning cartoon, meaning that it cannot be syndicated to other newspapers or magazines, or appear in books, or, presumably, be submitted to the Pulitzer committee. The 79 losing cartoonists will get bupkus for their efforts, but on the bright side, they don't have to pay an entry fee.

I'm not one of the select few cartoonists to receive the invitation to try to draw for the Times (remind me to cry over that later), so I don't have any personal stake in the righteous indignation of pretty much the entirety of my profession. Tom Richmond explains why we cartoonists have our panties in a knot over this:
"[T]he people who received this letter and were invited to participate are professional editorial cartoonists who are among the best in the business. They are being asked to work on spec, something that no creative professional should be asked to do, and the rate being offered is roughly 1/3 what exclusive printing rights should be going for."
 The kerfuffle probably mystifies those in the general public and the Huffington Post who think editorial cartoonists should be happy to draw for "exposure" alone. I've tried that -- my cartoons for the now defunct Racine Post were for exposure alone, and a lot of good that done me. I write this blog for exposure; ditto. (But then, I spend considerably less time on this blog than on cartooning, so there.)

I've got a couple of sunken lengths of sidewalk in front of my house. As soon as I find a contractor willing to fix my sidewalk for "exposure," I'll reconsider my lack of enthusiasm for cartooning jobs that pay in that precious commodity.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Q Toon: Boycotting the Gay Away

"One Million Moms" has decided to boycott J.C. Penney because they've signed Ellen deGeneres on as their advertising pitchperson:
“Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families. More sales will be lost than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly. Unless JC Penney decides to be neutral in the culture war then their brand transformation will be unsuccessful.” -- OMM statement
The American Family Association quickly joined OMM in their boycott effort:
"Does it offend you? Are you offended by this or are you kind of just ‘ho hum, so be it’? There comes a time when there needs to be a holy rejection of corruption that is literally putrefying our families. It’s time, long overdue, and too many people are sitting back and just letting Sodom and Gomorrah come walking in the door.

"Does it offend you, when you hear what retailers now—putting icons before you and your kids who are known, and according to some, flaming homosexuals?"
Meanwhile, right wing organizations are also trying to boycott Starbucks because the coffee vendor has come out in support the current bill to legalize marriage equality for same-sex couples in the state of Washington. So have Google and Microsoft; can One Million Moms chuck their PCs and learn to Bing on their Apples? Wait a minute -- Bing is Microsoft! Oh, when oh when will Rupert Murdoch buy up a search engine that will be "fair and balanced" and "neutral in the culture war" as conservatives see it?

And are the wingnuts still boycotting Ford?

Monday, February 6, 2012

This Week's Sneak Peek

I didn't see any J.C. Penney ads during the Super Bowl last night.

Not being an east coaster, I couldn't bring myself to root for either team. There just wasn't an interesting narrative for the build-up to the game. It's not as if the coaches were brothers, or one of them was hoping to avenge his brother's loss in the playoffs, or either side was a Cinderella team in their first Superbowl game ever, or my favorite team hadn't choked in the playoffs.

But at least the Giants and the Pats kept the game interesting right up to the final second. Unlike the Pro Bowl game the week before, which only served as a reminder to most Americans that, hey, your team may not have made the Superbowl, but at least your quarterback isn't Cam Newton. (Sorry, Carolina.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy St. Ansgar Day!

Today is the feast day of the patron saint of Denmark and Sweden, St. Ansgar. Legend has it that if the French-born archbishop of Hamburg and Bremen awoke on his feast day to see his shadow, there would be six more weeks of √¶bleskiver. Or until green beer would be on tap. Something like that.

From the web site of St. Ansgar Catholic Church of Hanover, Illinois:
"Deep in his heart, he carried the desire to give his life for his faith, to show his love through martyrdom. Contrary to his wish, Ansgar died peacefully in Bremen on February 3, 865, and was buried in the cathedral. After his death, Sweden again returned to paganism."
But all was not for naught: eventually, a crater on the moon was named for him.

Ansgar is also the patron saint of people whose life story wouldn't make a compelling movie.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Q Toon: Meeting the Founding Fathers

Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vowed to veto any bill out of the state legislature extending marriage equality to same-sex couples.

When only judges had the temerity to find that the Constitution applies to gays and lesbians, conservatives would blast those "elitist judges" and call for legislatures to vote to keep homosexuals in their proper place. Now that legislative approval of marriage equality in New Jersey is all but guaranteed, the governor avers that the matter is too important to be left to the people's representatives and ought to be put to a vote of the people themselves.

My knee-jerk instinct was to draw parallels to the Black Civil Rights movement, but it seems Governor Christie has already done that:
“People would have been happy with a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets of the South.”
Likening the struggle for gay rights to other facets of the fight for civil rights, particularly for African-Americans, is debatable. Many on my side of the debate say that while the issues in both fights are not identical (I'll concede that there are more gays who are able to pass as straight than there are blacks who are able to pass as white), there are still significant similarities (you think LGBTs don't get lynched? It's called gay-bashing, and it still happens).

But out of respect for African American History Month, I decided to steer clear of that particular argument this week.

Besides, the ridiculous parallel I might have drawn had already come straight out of Christie's mouth. I'm pretty sure that referenda on civil rights would have gone down to defeat in many states in the '60's, and not just down in Dixie. I'm absolutely certain that the marriage of future President Obama's parents would have been voted down by the same caliber of people who today question his citizenship (I'm looking at you, Georgia Republicans).