Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in review

At the close of every year for the last four decades, I've taken a picture of newspaper headlines from the year gone by. These pictures originally served as a sort of bookmark in my photo albums, back when using rolls of film limited the number of pictures I'd take, and I'd put every photo into an album.

I don't do that with my thousands of digital photos, but I've kept up the habit of taking these headline photos. Here's to 2013:
You can click on the photo to embiggenify it; even then, that New York Times headline about the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1964 is pretty tiny.

In closing, if your 2013 has been in any way less than you had hoped, I wish you a happier and brighter new year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

I was actually struggling to come up with an angle to approach the Utah marriage equality story until I saw the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown on Up yesterday morning.

I'll be back when my newspapers have had a chance to get this cartoon out in print.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Q Toon: Regnum Anatium

One could argue that highlighting Duck Dynast Phil Robertson's antigay comments in GQ Magazine only serves the purposes of Sarah Palin, talk radio, and all the Foxsters out there complaining that A&E is trampling his right of free speech. Not that they ever came to the defense of free speech rights for, say, Martin Bashir, Alec Baldwin, or Keith Olberman.

His opinions regarding African-Americans are the more ridiculous and worthy of censure. But I draw for the LGBT media through Q Syndicate, so I'm afraid I must leave to others his claim that Blacks were happier before civil rights and antipoverty programs ("No one was singing the blues"). I would, however, like to assuage Mr. Robertson's fears that anatomy poses an insurmountable difficulty to gays' and lesbians' ability to have and to enjoy sex. We really are not bothered by it anywhere near as much as he is.

Meanwhile, this Greek chorus of conservative American Catholics makes its second appearance in my cartoons this week. (Here's their first appearance, in September.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

Since this week's cartoon is meant for publication after Christmas, I assure you that this is not Santa Claus.

Some Children See Him (1992)

This is a front-page cartoon I drew for the UWM Post back in 1992. Sadly, this oversized sheet (slightly larger than the actual front page of the newspaper) is one of the pieces which suffered water damage when our basement flooded this spring. But I present it as another example of Messing With Santa:

Merry Christmas -- Season's Greetings -- Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Q Toon: Some Children See Him

Hey, we want in on the fun, too.

This isn't the first time I've drawn a cartoon outing Santa Claus, which shouldn't surprise anyone who realizes that I've been drawing for an LGBT media syndicate for 16 years. The owner of the syndicate back in the '90's (a traditionalist Jew, as it happens) thought that one such cartoon would offend Christian readers. I guess he figured that Santa Claus was a religious figure to some people.

Yes, I know he's sort of based on St. Nicholas, the Anatolian Christian from the third and fourth Century. But as far as I know, no Christian sect believes that Hagios Nikólaos lives at the North Pole with his cadre of elves and flying reindeer, temping at Macy's and sliding down chimneys in the middle of the night.

Except, perhaps, the Palins.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Q Toon: RIP Madiba

The death of a beloved, historic figure presents editorial cartoonists with both opportunity and challenge. Our memorial cartoons tend to be our most popular works; but for most of us, it's not enough to draw something saying that, gee, it's sad someone's gone. A cartoon that is truly worth the effort should say something unique and memorable about the person eulogized. The best do so simply and directly: Joe Heller produced his tour de 46664 within hours of the news breaking that Nelson Mandela had died.

Like many cartoonists, I often look for quintessential quotations on these occasions. At first, I wanted to draw a cartoon with Mandela's quotation that "to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." But Scott Stantis and David Horsey used that statement from Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom in their cartoons on the AAEC web site the very next morning.

Not being on a daily deadline, I still had some time to find just the right quotation, so I wasn't worried about other cartoonists using all the good ones before mine made it to print. (Although I didn't foresee Keith Knight's memorial cartoon, for which one single quotation just wasn't good enough.) I spent several hours combing through his speeches on the African National Congress web site.

I settled on a 1998 speech marking World AIDS Day. Late in his presidency and into his retirement, Mandela became a campaigner for HIV/AIDS awareness; the disease had not yet claimed the lives of his son and daughter-in-law at the time of the speech quoted in my cartoon. I didn't get a World AIDS Day cartoon done in time for December 1 this year, so, tardy as it is, my cartoon this week pulls double duty.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

No Peeking

In lieu of This Week's Sneak Peek, I offer a cartoon I drew in September of 1989. The speaker in the cartoon is South African Prime Minister F. W. deKlerk, making an announcement after months of police beatings of anti-apartheid demonstrators.
As the world celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela, it's striking to read educators and others remarking that students and young adults today do not know anything about him. And yet, trying to think back for an analogous case for my generation, I suppose some of my high school classmates had heard of the 1956 uprising in Hungary, but very few would have been able to identify Imre Nagy.

I went to college during a time when there were loud calls for colleges and university to divest from South Africa over its apartheid policies -- a hot-button issue at the time. The Soweto riots made headlines around the world, as did the death in police custody of Stephen Biko. America joined a wave of nations imposing sanctions against South Africa in 1986 only after the U.S. Congress overrode Ronald Reagan's veto.

The first cartoon I ever drew about South Africa was inspired by the film "Last Grave at Dimbaza" in 1975 or so. I no longer have the cartoon, which showed an armed white South African in pith helmet and safari gear using a dug grave as a warfare trench. I later discovered that Milwaukee Journal cartoonist Bill Sanders had drawn pretty much the exact same cartoon a few months earlier.

In spite of that sketchbook caricature of Nelson Mandela that I posted the other day -- drawn somewhere around the time that he was released from prison after 27 years -- I don't appear to have drawn him in any cartoons for publication at the time.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

In memory of one of the greatest political leaders of our time:

South African President Nelson Mandela passed away today at the age of 95. I drew this caricature of "Madiba" sometime around 1990 or 1991 as an early experiment with colored india ink.

The colors in the background are of the flag of the African National Congress (ANC); I don't recall whether the current South African national flag had been created at the time I drew this in my sketchbook. Either way, it's very unlikely that I would have had a picture of that flag handy before the 1992 Olympics.

Q Toon: Offense of Marriage

In August, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that, in keeping with the Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s denial of federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, spousal benefits must be given to the legally wed same-sex spouses of military personnel. 
Governors in several red states with marriage inequality written into their state constitutions announced that they would refuse to extend those benefits to National Guard personnel in their states. 
As of mid-November, National Guard units in eight states —Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and West Virginia — were refusing to process applications for benefits at Guard facilities,  or issue the identification card needed to claim benefits and access medical services on the Guard member’s home base.
Since then the situation has improved somewhat. West Virginia changed course and Texas struck a deal with the Pentagon, under which federal personnel enroll same-sex spouses at state facilities.
Oklahoma, Florida and South Carolina, which were forcing same-sex spouses to travel to federal facilities in order to apply for benefits, are now subjecting all spouses to that trek. (That’s one way of achieving equality.)
That leaves only three states, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia, in outright rebellion.
I guess I should have drawn South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in this week's cartoon instead of Texas's Rick Perry. I did, however, include Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. Well, sort of. He's that shock of white hair hiding behind Perry and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Problem Like Maria: When the Mace Stings

In recent years, shaken by 9/11 and the rise of autotune, Maria took a heightened interest in issues of security, law, and order. She had entered a new career in law enforcement when the Occupy Movement sprang up across the country.
Now, some may accuse me of shilling for NBC's live production of "Sound of Music" tomorrow night. I can only repeat that Paul Santo and I started this game completely independently of anything NBC Universal was doing.

If anything, I think NBC is trying to ride on our coattails.

Monday, December 2, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

There's not a whole lot of mystery to this week's sneak peek, particularly with that lovely label helping out.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that the leftovers last a full eight days and nights.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Problem Like Maria V

Originally, the suits at EMI thought the Beatles ought to replace George Harrison with Maria Von Trapp. "'I Need You' is so dreary," said one. "The kids today, you like it upbeat, lively! Something like 'The Lonely Goatherd'!"
Here are the nearly-fab four spelling out "URJV" in semaphore.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Problem Like Maria, Seite Vier

Maria might have found a career with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders if only her residual nun's modesty had not deterred her from wearing that skimpy uniform.

And her short hair. They really like the girls to wave their tresses about on the field.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Q Toon: Welcome to Wartmart

In the interest of getting a holiday-themed cartoon our there in time for most editors who run my cartoon, I really wanted to do something about Hallmark's "Don We Now Our Fun Apparel" ornament this week. But I don't think anyone will be able to top Ellen DeGeneres's take on the contre-temps.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Hills Will Go On

Returning to my little obsession with The Sound of Music for a moment:
I'm trying to decide whether I needed to flip Julie around 90 degrees, or the background. Ah, well. There will be more of these eventually.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Q Toon: Jack and Alec

In case you don't keep up with MSNBC on Friday nights, brand new program host Alec Baldwin has been suspended for two weeks after being filmed calling a pesky photographer a "c***sucking f**." (Baldwin tried explaining that he actually called the guy a "c***sucking fathead," which is only half as homophobic.)

I don't usually have MSNBC on during Baldwin's particular time slot, but I presume that the channel has temporarily gone back to programming about what it's like to live in prison, where such language is completely unheard of.

As I mentioned the other day, drawing Baldwin from opposite angles proved to be quite the challenge, in part because he must have decided that his right side is not his good side. (Insert rightwing-vs.-leftwing snarky remark here.) After writing that, I tried image-Googling "Alec Baldwin cartoon" and found very little evidence that other cartoonists have been able to capture essence of Alec in their work. So I guess that while I don't feel that I've quite captured the Baldwin Moue, I don't feel so bad about my efforts this week after all.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Problem Like Maria (Episode 2)

This business of photoshopping Maria from The Sound of Music into other pictures began with a college friend of mine who came home from a vacation through Virginia and posted a photo of rolling hills and distant mountains as his Facebook cover photo. Somebody suggested that the the only thing the photo lacked was Julie Andrews dancing in the foreground.

My friend, who is also named Paul, added Maria singing "The Hills Are Alive" to the photo, and a meme was born.

Paul followed that picture up by photoshopping Maria onto the balustrade of the West Virginia capitol building, which inspired me to replace the "Wisconsin" statue atop the capitol dome in Madison:
Maria should be warned, however, that Governor Snotwalker and his minions have decreed singing to be a capitol offense.

Monday, November 18, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

Try Image-Googling a celebrity, and you will quickly discover which he or she believes not to be his or her good side.

Pity if you're drawing a cartoon that necessitates drawing him or her from that side.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Problem Like Maria (Part 1)

On Facebook, a college friend and I have been posting photoshopped pictures of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music lately.  So, what the heck: I think I'll share some of mine here.

Let's start at the very beginning:

(Click image to embiggenate.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Q Toon: Say It Ain't So, Jo

Hawaii State Representative Georgette "Jo" Jordan provides a curious sidebar to her state's passage of marriage equality this week. A lesbian who is "not part of any faith-based group," Jordan was appointed to the state legislature in 2011. When Governor Abercrombie called a special session to consider marriage equality, LGBT groups such as Equality Hawaii wanted her to be the face of the bill.

But Jordan decided that she did not want to be pigeon-holed as a representative of her state's lesbian and gay citizens. In an interview with Honolulu Magazine, she says,
"I know who I am, I’m grounded in who I am, I’ve never hid who I am. And when I walked in this door, the GLBT community came knocking on my door and they said, "We’re so glad you’re here. Come on in here." And I’m like, 'I’m Jo, I’m a legislator, those are my hats first.'
"I know what it meant to step in this room for a kid from Waianae, who graduated from public school, who has no background, to be a female and to be GLBT on top of that. And I didn’t want to come up the gate saying, "Look at me, here I am." Because it would distract from anything that I worked on. I have never waved my flag. I don’t wear it across my chest."
So determined was she not to be type-cast, that she proceeded to vote against marriage equality. Her claim is that there aren't strong enough provisions in the bill to allow people to discriminate against same-sex couples if they want to. Apparently, she was swayed by the "citizen's filibuster," in which 5,184 right-wing religious folks showed up to testify against the bill, repeating the same tropes over and over as long as they possibly could. Jordan found them to be nice people, unlike the people over at Equality Hawaii who felt betrayed and let her know it.
"I totally thought I was going to get blasted by the religious community. When I walked into the hearings, I was like, those faith-based guys are going to come out. And not one of them said anything. They were more about, 'Thank you, thank you for listening.' And they didn’t know who I was. Outside, I was Rep. Jordan sitting at the table. They had no idea who I was, or my lifestyle, and that’s why I like it. Can we get to know each other before you know the rest of the stuff?
"I was blasted by the GLBT community on Saturday, outside the door. That took me aback. At the time, I hadn’t stated my position, and I was still undecided. These were testifiers the day before, saying, 'How can you be undecided? You should be a 'yes.' Do you know what this means?' And I politely engaged with them: 'I have some problems with SB1.' I explained the issues and they slammed me again. 'It’s good. Just vote yes.' They started getting boisterous. My natural instinct is, I’m going to fly some words at you. But you can’t, so I’m like, 'Thank you.'"
 If Think Progres's figures on support for marriage equality in Hawaii and in Jordan's district are correct, come next election, her constituents may be like, "See you."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

There was great news out of Illinois and Hawaii this week as the states joined the ranks of those with marriage equality. So as an editorial cartoonist making a career out of criticizing everyone else, I'm reminded of a Gilbert and Sullivan song from Princess Ida:

Oh, don't the days seem lank and long
When all goes right and nothing goes wrong,
And isn't your life extremely flat
With nothing whatever to grumble at!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Q Toon: Your Mirandskavitch Rights

This week's cartoon was occasioned by this brazen attack on a St. Petersburg HIV support group on Sunday, but it's really about the open season on LGBT Russians declared by their government.
Anastasia Smirnova, the general project manager of the Interregional Social Movement Russian LGBT Network, reported on Russian queer newsgroups that two masked men with guns and baseball bats attacked a "rainbow social" at the offices of LaSky, an HIV organization for gay men,  just over an hour ago. The police reportedly arrived at the LaSky office but left immediately saying they saw no evidence of a crime. 
Two patrons of LaSky were hospitalized; one had reportedly been shot in the eye, and a woman had been beaten with a baseball bat.

Well, you can't blame the Russian police for not wanting to do anything that might get themselves in trouble for violating the ban on "pro-gay propaganda."

Russia's antigay pogrom (also against immigrants and dark-skinned Russians) has been going on for months now, possibly to distract citizens from the massive sums of money being spent on the Sochi Olympics. In July, the Guardian's Nancy Goldstein rattled off a list of other antigay attacks:
[Do Vladimir Putin and the International Olympic Committee think t]hat we'll just happily ignore last week's news of skinheads luring gay teenagers with an online dating scam, then taping the sessions where they torture them so long as no one blocks our view of the figure skating events?...
[A] BuzzFeed photomontage of '36 Pictures From Russia That Everyone Needs to See' brought millions of viewers image after image of bloodied and crying LGBT Russians clinging to one another — people trying to shield themselves from blows and rotten eggs at peaceful protests turned violent where the police, skinheads, and large crowds of anti-gay protestors beat, mock, assault, and arrest them.
So the news from the Russian LGBT Network that four Dutch tourists had just been jailed under the new "gay propaganda" law for filming a documentary on LGBT rights in Russia was the last straw. ... 
Last month, killers reportedly stabbed and trampled a man to death before putting his body in his car and setting it on fire. Just weeks before, 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovoi's friends murdered him because he mentioned he was gay while they were getting drunk, according to the BBC. They raped him with beer bottles before smashing his skull in with rocks.

Monday, November 4, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

I'm sure this week's cartoon will not get me in trouble with the authorities.

Except, perhaps, authorities on authentic uniforms.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Q Toon: The Lady Reappears

A couple weeks ago, Airport Dude made his third appearance in my cartoons. This week's cartoon marks a return of a One Million Mom character who appeared in my cartoons last June and August. She didn't even have a speaking part in her first appearance, but now I've committed to filling in her back story, I guess. For this cartoon, I had to figure out what her husband might look like.

Which is all to say that I don't really know who the couple that stiffed their waiter at a Kansas restaurant are or what they actually look like.
Instead of a tip, a couple who dined at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Overland Park this week left a message for their waiter that has social media buzzing.
Said the message: "Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to God. [Antigay slur] do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your [antigay slur] choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’S love, but none shall be spared for [antigay slur]. May God have mercy on you."
The anonymous waiter may have been flamboyant enough to trip this couple's gaydar, but even they admit right up front that his service was "excellent," and he has been thoroughly professional about the incident afterward. Although it came out early on that his mother is a manager at the restaurant, his name has not been made public, and he has not commented on the customers involved.

Perhaps this couple were drawing their own conclusions from the parable of the shrewd manager. If so, they stopped before arriving at Luke 16:15, in which Jesus tells his pharisee critics, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts."

I suppose we could blame the boorish behavior of these so-called Christians on Fred Phelps's Westboro Baptist Church; they are 70 miles away, but they do get around. If they happen to be local people,they certainly can't expect excellent service at that particular Carrabba's again.

Monday, October 28, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

At the last minute, I added "and internet" in this frame from this week's cartoon, just because many people think of "the media" as being limited to the printed press and television news. (Radio is also part of "the media," even though most of the blowhards on AM radio seem to think "the media" are someone else.) Do you define "the media" as anything between the sender and receiver of a message?


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Q Toon: Go Away. Kids, You Bother Me

It's late October, so whatever happens to be in the news is going to get the Halloween treatment by editorial cartoonists. So let's find something spooky about marriage equality coming to New Jersey:

I seem to be on a kick of cartooning governors lately. This one's not so obscure outside of his own state, but I figured I had better squeeze in an identifying label, anyway.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

Well, if it isn't Cornelius Vanderbilt and J. P. Morgan at the door for a hand-out!

Have I gone all libertarian this week? Tune in Thursday for the next exciting installment.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Turn Your Head and Cough

Drawing this week's cartoon (see yesterday's post), I was reminded of the last time I included a hernia check in a cartoon.
In May of 2005, I was drawing weekly cartoons to illustrate the editorials of The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee. The editorial this particular week questioned the need for two proposed competing hospitals in the Milwaukee suburb of Oconomowoc, opining that either one or the other would be plenty, while having two would drive up costs. (One often assumes that competition would drive costs down, but not in the field of health care. There are redundant equipment, maintenance and administrative costs -- which hospital can offer the larger pay package to a prospective CEO? -- and patients generally don't shop around for the cheapest hospital the way they would for muffler repair or a can of soup.)

The BJ editors decided that they were uncomfortable with the suggestive cartoon I drew for them (above). Now, I can recall health care cartoons in a similar vein, such as one by the Indianapolis Star's Gary Varvel showing then-President Clinton pulling on rubber gloves to give Uncle Sam a rectal exam -- if you want to depict any health care issue as being somehow scary, go straight for the groin. I guess what plays in big, cosmopolitan Indianapolis doesn't necessarily play in little old homespun Milwaukee.

With the deadline already past for my cartoon, I hastily replaced my original approach with this hackneyed hunk of drivel:
I don't think I even bothered to draw a pencil sketch of the replacement cartoon before inking it.

Both hospitals ended up being built anyway, incidentally.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Q Toon: Q Wait

Kuwait has announced that it and other gulf emirates will institute medical test procedures to stop gays from entering their countries.
"Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries; however, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states." -- Yousouf Mindkar, Director of Public Health at the Kuwaiti Health Ministry
Aside from Kuwait, the GCC member states are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and 2022 World Cup host Qatar. There is already pressure to move the World Cup over this issue.

Meanwhile, how exactly the Kuwaitis intend to screen for The Gay has yet to be revealed. Those intrepid animators at Taiwanese News depict these medical test procedures as being even more invasive than I dared to.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Toon: Asylum of the Tea Party

Yeah, negotiate. That's all they want.

I started watching Dr. Who during the Tom Baker years when WTTW out of Chicago showed the programme on Sunday nights. At some point, WTTW ran out of new episodes and aired several episodes from the Jon Pertwee years instead. After they started running new episodes, I kept watching until sometime in the Peter Davidson years when I got a second shift job that included a lot of Sunday nights, and I lost track of the show.

In those days, Daleks were all slate gray, so that's how I colorized them here. On Google Images, I see that they now come in a rainbow of colors, which just seems wrong. I just can't imagine there being a sensitive Dalek with a flair for design. Next thing you know, the Borg will start snazzing up their wardrobe.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Q Toon: Corbett's Apology

Sherry Christian of CBS Channel 21 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, interviewed Republican Governor Tom Corbett about a comparison one of his lawyers had made of same-sex marriage to allowing 12-year-olds to get married. "It was an inappropriate analogy," Corbett began. Then he continued:
"I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don't you?"
Ms. Christian recognized immediately that Mr. Corbett had stepped in his own doodoo and politely declined to follow in his footsteps.

I've included Corbett's conditional apology in this week's cartoon (and the sneak peek earlier this week) verbatim.

I posted a cartoon last Friday featuring gross caricatures of four state governors. They included Texas's Rick Perry, who gained national recognition by running for president and stumbling spectacularly in debates, and Wisconsin's Scott Walker, who received national exposure during bitter protests and a recall attempt. Less familiar to readers were North Dakota's Jack Dalrymple and North Carolina's Pat McCrory.

There are 50 governors in this country, and only a handful are known outside their own state. Caricaturing the lesser-known ones can be challenging. Pennsylvania Tom Corbett has a particularly bland face. Signe Wilkinson draws it rectangular; John Cole draws it somewhat elongated. It looks roundish to me, so that's how I approached it this time. I may never find reason to draw him again -- but then, perhaps he wants to step into Rick Santorum's shoes.

Not that Santorun's shoes are less caked in doodoo.

Monday, October 7, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize.
My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize.
My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize.
My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Toon: Republican Health Care

The Koch Brothers have an anti-health care ad which shows a young woman arriving at her gynecologist's office and telling her doctor that she has enrolled in "Obamacare." When she gets on the examining table and puts her legs up in the stirrups, the doctor leaves, and a really, really creepy big-headed Uncle Sam brandishing a speculum rises up between her legs.

The Kochs' creepy Uncle Sam tells us three things.
  1. that the Koch Brothers haven't been paying attention to what Republican-run states have been doing vis-à-vis women's reproductive rights, 
  2. that the Koch Brothers therefore don't particularly care about women's reproductive rights, and
  3. that the Koch Brothers really, really, hate America.
I mean, really. Where did they get that Uncle Sam head, anyway? Was it a souvenir from when they were protesting against the Great Satan in the streets of Teheran in the 1980s?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Q Toon: Signs of Fall

Mine may be the only cartoon on the AAEC web site today that is not about the federal government shutdown.

But it's fall! Time to enjoy the fall colors and off-color jokes! National Coming Out Day is just over a week away, so it's time to start getting into the spirit of the holiday, deck the halls, bake some pumpkin soufflé, dress up and prowl the neighborhood. Or am I thinking of the Folsom Street Fair?

By the way, check back for another cartoon here tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Q Toon: Small Minds Rule!

This cartoon could have been one big mess of labels.

I had initially thought that the reporter talking to Pope Francis (I shouldn't need to label him, should I?) ought to have the name of the magazine in which the "small-minded rules" interview appeared. But the magazine's name is American, and having that as the label would be confusing in its own way.

But how to label the cabal in the larger panel of the cartoon? "American Catholic Conservatives"? Admittedly, I have enough room in the panel's pan-handle for that, but it's awfully clunky. It would be clunkier still to label them each individually, although I really can't expect any reader to be able to identify all of them. Two of them have never appeared in my cartoons before.

Here are the answers to the American Catholic Conservative Quiz.

From left to right: Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt. Nienstedt has required Catholic students in his diocese to attend lectures expounding the evils of marriage equality, has issued orders to priests that if they disagree with his antigay stands they should shut the hell up about it, and has declared that condoms are the work of the devil.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Is there any need to explain his virulent antigay streak?

House Speaker John Boehner. He "can't imagine" ever supporting gay marriage. And then there's the allegation by former Congressman Bob Ney that on an overseas junket, Boehner said of a staffer, "Yeah, he's a good guy. I think he's a fag." I needed a Catholic politician currently in office (other than Scalia), and Boehner seemed like the most recognizable of the lot -- enough so that I could put him in the back of the crowd.

Former Senator, 2012 presidential candidate, and frothy mixture Rick Santorum, who famously equated same-sex marriage with "man-on-dog" bestiality.

National Organization for Marriage harridan Maggie Gallagher. I've drawn her often enough now that my caricature of her is actually my caricature of my caricature of her. If she hasn't been in your state lately to man the battlements against marriage equality, her face might not be familiar to you; I've been criticized before for not identifying her.

Catholic League blowhard Bill Donohue. This is my first try at his face, which should be familiar to prime-time cable crosstalk-fests and South Park devotées. Whenever anyone slights the Catholic Church in any way, no matter how justified the slight may be, Bill Donohue is on TV quicker than Gloria Allred to defend its integrity to the death.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rhapsody in Coach

United's TV ad may have been inspired by this incident, but they certainly don't want you reminded of it.
United Airlines is airing a TV ad these days that shows a symphony orchestra playing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue aboard one of their airplanes.

It's hogwash.

If you think that child kicking the back of your seat all the way from D.C. to Denver was annoying, try sitting in front of the trombone section.

And I don't care what the screen shows, nobody is going to be able to play a cello on an airplane, or fit a french horn in the overhead storage compartment. It's like that Buick ad with Shaquille O'Neal that shows him walking up to their little car, and then shows him sitting inside it; they don't show him actually getting into or out of the car. (Actually, I think they have him curl up into the fetal position, then they just build the car around him.)

At least United doesn't even bother to get the tuba, bass, and percussion section into the plane in their ad.

For the piano alone, they would have to take out 24 seats.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Another Monday, Another Sneak Peek

One thing I can tell you about this week's cartoon is that nobody in it is named with a label, button, or balloon. We'll see how successful that strategy is in a few days.

This is not Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, John McCain or Helmut Kohl.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Q Toon: Fever Pitch in NM

My "News Item" is, shall we say, somewhat misleading.

This week's cartoon is occasioned by this ABC News report, that there has been little opposition to the spread of marriage equality ever since Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples in August.
The only crowds that gathered outside his Dona Ana County office were gay couples wanting to marry. The state's top politicians stayed neutral. New Mexico's three Catholic bishops said it was a matter for lawmakers. And an evangelical mega-church in the state's largest city was mum.
"I have gotten some fairly nasty religious-related telephone message," Ellins said. "But generally speaking, I am surprised by the relatively muted response from those who clearly disagree."
The change was prompted by an ACLU lawsuit. Six of the state's most populous counties now recognize same-sex marriages. The New Mexico Supreme Court is scheduled to weigh in on the matter next month.

Postscript: There appears to be some problem with the AAEC site today -- at least in my browser. If there is no cartoon showing at the top of this page, you can find my cartoon here, on the Michigan Pridesource page.

Monday, September 16, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

Sometimes, I make it nearly impossible to figure out what the topic of that week's cartoon is going to be.

I suspect that this is not one of those weeks.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Q Toons: There's Something About Liz

Longtime Virginia resident Liz Cheney, conservative talking head and elder daughter of Dubya's Vice President, has returned to her childhood home of Wyoming to run for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate race in 2014 (that nomination being the de facto general election, it being Wyoming.)

She's taking on sitting Republican Senator Mike Enzi by running to the right of the solidly conservative Senator -- he garnered a 96% voting rating from the American Conservative Union in 2012. She's doing her best to appeal to the teahadist, theocratic dittoheads who have been agitating to return the U.S. to frontier values, just like in Deadwood and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Enzi's supporters have tried to undercut Cheney's appeal to theocrats by suggesting that she might support marriage equality, insofar as Cheney's sister, Mary, married her longtime partner, Heather Poe, last year, and the two are the parents of Liz's two nieces, aged 2 and 6. Liz responded by telling the world that she doesn't believe in Mary and Heather's marriage.
“I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage,” Cheney said in a statement released by her campaign. “I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves.”
We are told that the Cheney's are a close-knit family, but they have had such a difficult time accepting Mary's family publicly that she must be used to it by now. When Mary and Heather were expecting their first child, Vice President Dick got testy with reporters asking him about it. My cartoon about that made it into the Los Angeles Times:

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
ϪJan 31, 2007

Dick Cheney -- and his different-sex wife, Lynne -- had also gotten testy when Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards attempted to goad him into supporting or rejecting Mary in a 2004 televised debate...
Now that Dick Cheney is safely out of the Vice Presidency, he has been more publicly supportive of Mary and her family. But, presumably, he is no longer interested in running for elective office, and doesn't have to pander to that influential Republican constituency that has been devoted to devaluing, demeaning and destroying families such as the Poe-Cheneys for more than a generation.

I'd like to think that the Focus on the Family Tea Party Birther nativist English-only God-Guns-and-GOP folks are not all as nasty, mean and vile as the ones that dominate Fox News, AM radio, TP rallies, and internet comment sections -- that among them are some who are not completely heartless misanthropes.

But perhaps Liz Cheney knows them better than I do.