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.

Monday, September 9, 2013

This Week's Sneak Peek

Am I planning a reference to Pirates of the Caribbean this week?

The Founding Mothers?

All will be revealed. Eventually.

Meanwhile, did you know that on this date in 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to change the name of the country to "United States of America"? Do you know what name it replaced?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Q Toon: The Ring

Bless Pat Robertson's little heart for gift wrapping such a tempting cartoon topic for me in time for me to get it drawn before the Labor Day (and Harley Davidson anniversary) holiday weekend!

With everything else going on in the world, you could easily have missed the story -- indeed, Pat Robertson's people have done everything they could to hide it: the exchange was immediately removed from Christian Broadcasting Company's on-line copy of the 700 Club program, and his lawyers exercised CBN's copyright protections against whoever posted the sermonette on YouTube.

But the footage survives on the Huffington Post -- I guess even Pat Robertson's lawyers can't take on Arianna Huffington.

In the first two panels of this cartoon, I've quoted Mr. Robertson as closely as I can in the space I have to work with. Responding to a caller who had been giving a parishioner rides between his nursing home and his church and then discovered that the man had AIDS, here's what Robertson actually said:
“There are laws now, I think the homosexual community has put these draconian laws on the books that prohibit people from discussing this particular affliction. You can tell somebody you had a heart attack, you can tell them they've got high blood pressure, but you can’t tell anybody you've got AIDS...
"You know what they do in San Francisco. Some in the gay community there, they want to get people, so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger. Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder."
Well, isn't that special.

According to the "apology" posted by Robertson's lawyers, here's what the second portion of that bizarre statement referred to:
"In my own experience, our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because, in those days, certain AIDS-infected activists were deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood."
Recalling the days when police departments rushed to supply their officers with latex gloves to reduce their exposure to HIV-positive bodily fluids, one can imagine, I suppose, that "trained security officers" might have warned Mr. Robertson against all manner of dangers from ACT-UP, from blow-darts to retrovirus-tipped umbrellas to exploding remote-controlled toy cars.

As far as the "draconian laws" that prohibit anyone from talking about AIDS, the only such laws I can think of were crafted by the folks on Robertson's side of the cultural divide, who claimed to be protecting children from exposure to so-called alternative lifestyle choices. (You know, just like the Russians are doing now.) I don't recall any AIDS activists holding up Ronald Reagan's silence on AIDS as a model for the nation.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sounds Like But Ain't #1

Words that may sound like lovely names for your newborn daughter, but they're not:
1. Trampoline
2. Briquette
3. Enemy
4. Saliva
5. Rosacea
6. Latrine
7. Hyena
8. Malady
9. Charade
10. Eleven

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day's Sneak Peek

When these three-day weekends come along, I typically want to get my syndicated cartoon in before the weekend instead of the usual routine of drawing it on Sunday.  Unfortunately, most politicians and reporters knock off early before the weekend arrives, and it's nearly impossible to find something to draw about.

This Labor Day weekend, however, there was plenty of LGBT news to choose from.