Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Corinthia College, Again

There was an item in the news today about former students of the for-profit Corinthian College banding together to refuse to pay their student loans.
The group, initially dubbed the Corinthian 15, sent a letter to the Department of Education last month, saying they would stop paying the federal student loans they took out to pay to attend various outposts of Corinthian Colleges, a chain of for-profit colleges. Under a deal with Department of Education last year, the company agreed to shut down or sell its schools last year amid allegations the company lured students by advertising dubious job prospects and career services.
The interest rate of the loans was higher than that offered by federal student loan programs; and the tuition costs were higher than one would find at comparable schools. But that's not the worst of it.
Last summer, federal regulators forced Corinthian to either shutter or sell the majority of its 100-plus campuses after allegations it had falsified student job placement data and pressured students to take out costly private loans. When Corinthian sold its remaining campuses in a $24 million deal to student loan servicing company Zenyth, Zenyth agreed to forgive $480 million worth of private student loan debt incurred by Corinthian students. But students who took out federal loans to pay for school have to meet a certain set of criteria to be considered for loan forgiveness. In a nutshell, they would have had to be currently or recently enrolled at campuses that were shut down last year.
The number of protesters has swelled over 100, and are backed by an Occupy group (Who knew they were still around?) calling itself the Debt Collective. However this story turns out, it's something to keep in mind as Teapublicans rush to dismantle public education in favor of for-profit private enterprise. That includes you, Darth Snotwalker.

Which has nothing much to do with this cartoon strip I drew for the UW-Parkside Ranger some 30 years ago or so, except for the similarity of the college name. (Click on the image to embiggenify.)

My Corinthian College cartoons veered from the topical to silly ones like this old thing. (I posted a few examples of Corinthia College strips last June on the topic of racist sports team names.) This particular one is in the format of a Sunday color comic, even though it came out on Thursday in black and white.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Postwar World: Think of the Children

It's Slinkback Saturday here at Bergetoons, which means it's time for one last look at predictions from A Bird's-Eye View of the Postwar World of an airborne society.

Here Marvin Townsend's herione takes in all the airplanes, helicopters, and mass transit cucumbers her future holds and she -- well, I don't know exactly what her premonition is.

Maybe she's foreseeing propeller beanies. If she's smart, she and her husband will invest in the impending fad, allegedly invented in 1947 by science fiction writer-cartoonist Ray F. Nelson and further popularized by the TV cartoon Beany & Cecil in the 1950s. As long as they sell out before boomer boys' attentions turn from aircraft to rockets, they should make out handsomely.

And speaking of making out, here's my very last -- I promise! -- ABEVPW cartoon about everyday air travel:
...Which will lead us into our next topic: Sex and the Postwar Girl.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Q Toon: Scenes from a Mall

California lawyer Matt McLaughlin has plopped down $200 to propose an initiative for the state ballot mandating the execution of gays and lesbians. When I first heard about Matt McLaughlin's so-called "Sodomite Suppression Act," my first thought was that Matt McLaughlin must fancy himself an Andy Kaufman for the 2010s. Matt McLaughlin cannot possibly be serious.

Unfortunately, according to all news reports, Matt McLaughlin is not answering reporters' calls, and his answering machine is full, so it's really hard to tell whether Matt McLaughlin is a jerk who thinks he's funny, a jerk who thinks he's edgy, or a jerk who thinks he's Hitler.

I guess the media will have to camp out on Matt McLaughlin's doorstep, and hound all Matt McLaughlin's neighbors, Matt McLaughlin's ex-girlfriends, Matt McLaughlin's mother and Matt McLaughlin's legal clients in order to find out exactly what kind of jerk Matt McLaughlin is.

Performance Art or Hate Speech, there doesn't seem to be any way for California to deny Matt McLaughlin his right to collect signatures from other performance artists and hate speakers to get this blatantly unconstitutional measure on the state ballot. Not that this sort of stunt was totally unanticipated:
The growing number of proposed initiatives – from 47 in the 1960s to nearly 650 in the 2000s – prompted lawmakers to revisit the issue [of increasing the filing fee] in recent years. They contended that raising the fee would help defray the average $8,000 in administrative costs for state officials to prepare the title and summary for each proposal. It could also dissuade people from ...turning in what would generally be viewed as a frivolous proposal.
California has long had a problem with its citizens approving expensive ballot initiatives on the one hand and initiatives refusing to pay for them on the other. Turns out that's how the initiative process itself works.

Californians who love their annual avalanche of ballot initiatives counter that raising the filing fee sends a message that democracy is a plaything of the rich; nor do they want one of their elected officials to have the power to block any ballot initiatives.

In the end, we are left to trust that there aren't 365,888 hateful performance artists in all of California willing to put their names on Matt McLaughlin's affront to civilization.
Q SyndicateMar 26, 2015

And thank goodness they don't have cheap ballot initiatives in Oklahoma.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

RIP Jim Berry

Jim (James O.) Berry, creator of the long-running panel cartoon "Berry's World," died last Friday at age 83.

Berry received the National Cartoonists Society's Divisional Award (Silver Reuben) for Best Newspaper Panel in 1965, 1966 and 1972, and was a president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists in 1981-82. In a career that stretched from the Kennedy administration to that of the Second Bush, his work appeared in about 1,000 newspapers.

"Berry's World" had a gentle humor that didn't spark angry letters to the editor. Berry didn't draw cartoons calling the Vietnam War a clusterfuck, Nixon a crook, Carter an incompetent, etc. His single panel (and Sunday strip) generally portrayed one everyday person speaking to another about something topical. Even if the people in the cartoons were celebrities or well-known politicians, these cartoons were usually set in the moments outside the public eye where they were just as regular folk as the rest of us. The 1974 example above left shows recently married globe-hopping Secretary of State Henry Kissinger being chided, somewhat, by his new bride, for being away from home so often.

About the closest Berry came to a barbed comment were cartoons such as this 1979 cartoon (at right) suggesting that Carter's Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan might be starting to behave like Nixon's Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman. (There was some other cartoon that apparently ticked off Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard; I don't know the details of that story, however.)

✒ ✒ 

I should mention that another past president of the AAEC also passed away last week. But when I lived in Delaware, I was too young to read Jack Jurden's cartoons in the News Journal, and his work didn't appear in any of the newspapers where I grew up in Wisconsin, so he wasn't an influence on my formative years in the way that the omnipresent Jim Berry was.

Monday, March 23, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peek

I didn't take time to check that there wasn't already a Purgatory Corners before drawing this cartoon.

So if that's the name of your hometown, novella, or web comic, please accept my apologies. And no fair posting it between now and Thursday.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Juxtaposition of the Day

From my Facebook feed yesterday:
The "GOP lawmaker" pictured, by the way, is Oklahoma's freshman Senator James Lankford, continuing this week's Oklahomatic theme.

The only edits I made to this screen shot were to crop this section of it and to blur the name of the person who Liked the story. We're left to wonder whether Facebook's algorithm thinks that Sen. Lankford's Master Faith politics are straight out of the Hitler Youth Handbook, or that he just looks like the guy who sang the song.

P.S.: If you're interested in reading what Sen. Lankford said, here's the story. If you don't know what "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" means, see the movie.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Q Toon: Reserving the Right to Refuse Service

Q Syndicate✒Mar 19, 2015

ReBubbacan legislatures in one red state after another are falling all over themselves to pass laws guaranteeing businesses, landlords, first responders, medical personnel and whomever else a right to discriminate against same-sex couples.

In Oklahoma, Representative Emily Virgin (D-Norman) introduced this amendment to the "religious liberty" bill working its way through her state legislature:
"Any person not wanting to participate in any of the activities set forth in subsection A of this section based on sexual orientation, gender identity or race of either party to the marriage shall post notice of such refusal in a manner clearly visible to the public in all places of business, including websites. The notice may refer to the person’s religious beliefs, but shall state specifically which couples the business does not serve by referring to a refusal based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or race.”
At the moment, Ms. Virgin's amendment has helped to stall the Oklahoma bill.

Meanwhile, another piece of execrable legislation taking authority for issuing marriage licenses away from civil authorities and turning it over to religious clergy passed the state House on March 17. While it might still be possible for gay and lesbian couples to find a Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Reformed Jewish or Unitarian Universalist cleric somewhere in the Sooner State to bless their union, the bill seems to me to discriminate blatantly against atheists and agnostics.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


For what it's worth, here's my proposed meme for Aaron Schock, R-Downton Abbey:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Q Toon: It's a Darlin, Darlin Day

Because everyone gets to be a little bit Irish today, here's a cartoon from 2003 wearin' the green.

Faith, an' have a safe an' happy St. Paddy's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Postwar Eye in the Sky

Here are two more helicopter cartoons from A Bird's-Eye View of the Postwar World (R. M. Barrows and Margaret Foster, eds.; Consolidated Book Publishers, Chicago, 1945). And then I'm almost done with the subject.

Vic Herman's cartoon at left -- and here's a cartoonist who provides a nice, big, very legible signature on his work so I don't have to strain my eyes reading the small print on the back page -- gives us one of those simple gags about how Sexual Harassment Is Funny. No need to click on this cartoon to embiggen, even though you can if you want.

Vic Herman also drew the cartoon below right. It's on the inside of the cover of the book, my copy of which is considerably worse for wear, which explains the water stain and the tear.

I do get this cartoon, insofar as a helicopter showing up at a garden party would naturally attract a lot of attention. But I worry that Gloria's admirers are in danger of losing their heads over her, and not in a good way.

But at least this cartoon isn't as sexist as the first, since Gloria clearly is as able to fly her helicopter as any slick-haired guy with binoculars. Why, Mr. Perv Pilot merely opens his window to leer at --say, isn't that Gloria? -- whereas Gloria flies an open-air convertible helicopter and is able to hover mere inches off the ground while engaging in ever so scintillating conversation.

Either way, besides helicopter manufacturers, everyone apparently saw a bright future in the postwar world for the pomade market. Even with all these helicopters hovering over sunbathers, crashing garden parties, dropping kids off from school, buzzing mountain climbers, spying on hillbillies, and delivering door-to-door salesmen, there is not a single hair out of place anywhere to be seen.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Postwar Traffic Cop

A propos of nothing, here's another cartoon from A Bird's-Eye View of the Postwar World (R. M. Barrows & Margaret Foster, eds., Consolidated Book Publishers, Chicago, 1945), continuing the theme of that well before now, we'd all be flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

Well, not this guy, particularly. Perhaps he had been caught speeding, or changing lanes without signaling.

Or perhaps it was a case of rotor rage.

The cartoonist here is identified only as "Robinson," even in the back page credits, so either he was phenomenally famous, or even his editors at the Saturday Evening Post (or Collier's or Parade or whatever) had no idea who he was.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Q Toon: Mixed Nuts

Q Syndicate✒Mar 12, 2015

I'm arriving pretty late to this party — Dr. Ben Carson's ridiculous gays-and-prisons comment has been forgotten amid the furore over Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server and Republican senators' decision to notify Iran that they will never agree to any treaties while Barack Obama is President.

Dr. Carson, in case you've never heard of him before, is the GOP's token black presidential candidate — the guy a select few Republicans support for a while in an effort to show that they're not racist. Then, as with Herman Cain and Alan Keyes before him, they fall away when the rest of the party which hasn't nominated a new face since Wendell Willkie coalesces around some white guy with actual experience in government.

Since blurting out on national TV that homosexual sex in prisons proves that sexual orientation is something everyone chooses, Dr. Carson has apologized, which drove all of his supporters crazy. (A short trip, that.) He has promised never to talk about homosexuality again. He needn't worry; he isn't going to be on national TV much any more.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

WisToon: Hearing No Objection

After patiently ignoring hours of testimony against Right to Work for Less, Wisconsin's Republicans passed their union-busting bill in extraordinary session on a party line vote; and Darth Snotwalker quickly signed the bill he had publicly dismissed as "a distraction" but had privately described years ago as just one more "step" in his "divide and conquer" model of governance.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington, at left in the cartoon) told "Up Front with Mike Gousha" that he had only received a handful of messages from constituents against the proposed bill. He made no mention whether he had received more than a handful of messages from constituents in favor of it.

While RTWFL has been a priority for right-wingers at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce group, there has been no push for it from individual local chambers of commerce, as found by the Wisconsin Business Alliance's Lori Compas:

I wanted to learn the answer to this question: Is WMC really representing Wisconsin’s broad and diverse business community when it claims that businesses want legislators to enact “right to work” laws?
The answer was astonishing: I could not find a single Chamber in the districts of [Republican] senators Fitzgerald, Cowles, Olsen, Moulton, Petrowski, Nass, Lasee, or Harsdorf that supports “right to work.”
In fact, I heard statements like these again and again: “We’re not taking a position on that.” “We don’t take a stand on political issues.” “We only advocate for political issues when there’s a strong consensus among our members — and we don’t have consensus on this.”
A Chamber official in Senator [Scott] Fitzgerald’s [(R-Juneau), above right in my cartoon] district said, “We won’t take a stand on that one way or another. We’re part of WMC because we get a lot of resources from them, like mentoring and executive training and other benefits, but that doesn’t mean we support their legislative agenda.”
Another Chamber official, this time in Senator Lasee’s district, said, “Everyone I have talked to says that it is an issue that should be left between employers and their employees. I haven’t found anyone who says we need the government to tell us how to run our business.”
Me again: I've got to say, that is an astonishingly tepid response from a demographic that tends to skew Republican to a Republican bill guaranteed to pass a Republican legislature and be signed by a Republican governor.

It will take decades before the full effect of the push by Darth Snotwalker and his Madison Minions to depress wages, decimate benefits, and bring a third-world standard of living to the state of Wisconsin. To save their own jobs, Republicans have already begun their assault on the right to vote.  Our only hope is that Walker, notorious for not finishing what he starts, up and quits his current job in favor of heading some right-wing think tank somewhere -- rather than that other job he's got his eyes on.

Monday, March 9, 2015

This Week's Sneak Pecan

Well, maybe it's more like an almond.

Tune in later this week to find out whether Saturday Night Live left anything unsaid.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Isn't Winter Over Yet?

(Photo credit: Frederick Co., Maryland staff, and Paramount Pictures.)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Q Toon: St. Patrick's Day Off

Nearly every March for years and years, I've drawn something about St. Patrick's Day parades, always about the one in New York. I'm happy to announce that this year, I'm doing something different.

Q Syndicate✥Mar 5, 2015

Immaculate Heart of Mary School, a small Catholic school in Harvard, Massachusetts, has announced that it is canceling its participation in Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade because parade organizers, the Allied War Veterans' Council, are permitting OutVets, an organization of LGBT military veterans, to march.
"We can't associate with that,” Brother Thomas Dalton, principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary School, said in a phone interview. "It would appear we were condoning it."
In the past, parade organizers have excluded LGBT groups from the parade, citing antigay Catholic religious dogma; but last year, the beer companies who are the major sponsors of the parade withdrew their support because of the policy.

The thing that gets me about Brother Dalton is that it's not as if his marching band is being required to follow directly after RuPaul's Drag Race, Topless Dykes on Bikes, Twinks Wearing Little More Than Glitter, or 50 Shades of Latex. It's a veterans' group, fer crying out loud -- men and women who have served our country and lived to tell about it -- who might not even have staged anywhere near the Immaculate Mary Marching Band for all we know.

Given the 100" (2.5 m) of snow Boston is dealing with this winter, one wonders how organizers plan to march anyone down the snowbound streets of Southie anyway. One imagines spectators clinging to the tops of plow berms high above the parade as it is forced to march no more than three abreast down the constricted streets.

They might have to postpone the parade until Mothers' Day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

R.C. Bowman on the German Vote

It has been ages since I've posted any cartoons from The Minneapolos Tribune Cartoon Book for 1901: Being a Collection of Over One Hundred Cartoons by R.C. Bowman. So let's take a look at an ethnic voting bloc that you hardly ever  hear about any more:
How Teddy lost the German-American Vote While in Milwaukee.

Clearly, Mr. Bowman was being facetious with this caption; as noted before, he was solidly in favor of the McKinley-Roosevelt ticket in 1900 and would hardly have crowed about a setback to its prospects. Here, the Milwaukee G.O.P., wearing wooden clogs and pants with a pretzel motif, is trumpeting "We're with you, Teddy, man for man" and "Hoo-rah for hoo-rah and high wages!"

Given the party's determination to torpedo wages here in Wisconsin these days, there have clearly been some drastic changes in the state G.O.P. in the last 115 years.

Milwaukee was known as the "German Athens" for its large population of German immigrants, who ranged from farmers to brewery entrepreneurs to outspoken socialists. Generally speaking, German-American voters in 1900 tended to oppose both Bryan's "repudiation" policy (allowing holders of government bonds to "repudiate" the terms of the bond and to demand payment in coin for a bond purchased with paper) and overseas expansion under McKinley as a result of the U.S. victory in the Spanish-American War.
The German American Vote: "Well, wouldn't that jar you? Some old geeser up there takes me for a sucker."

R.C. Bowman here remains confident that the German-American vote will go Republican, rather than be tempted by William Jennings Bryan's proposed 16-to-1 exchange rate of silver coinage to gold, or his campaign against American imperialism. The lure in the cartoon is labeled "16 to 1," and the worm is labeled "Imperialism bait."

Aside from Milwaukee, major German-American communities included Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Baltimore and the Northern Kentucky area along the Ohio River. By 1900, the populations of the cities of Cleveland, Milwaukee, Hoboken, and Cincinnati were all more than 40% German American; and the percentages in Omaha, Nebraska and Dubuque and Davenport, Iowa were even larger. Of the states in which these communities lie, only Kentucky and Missouri -- the ones in the "Solid South" -- went Democratic in the 1900 presidential election.
Carl Schurz: "Mister, don't you want to buy a dog? He's tame as a kitten (if you keep the muzzle on)."
Uncle Sam: "Carley, you may not know it, but you're an awfully funny feller."

German-born American Carl Schurz was a revolutionary who had moved to Wisconsin after the failure of Europe's 1848 liberal revolutions. By 1900, he had been Lincoln's ambassador to Spain, a brigadier general in the Civil War, chief editor of the Detroit Post, Senator from Missouri, and Rutherford B. Hayes's Secretary of the Interior. He was also a frequent cartoon target of Thomas Nast. A liberal Republican "Mugwump," he supported Democrat Grover Cleveland over Republican James Blaine in 1884; and while he did not support Bryan in 1896, he was won over by the Democrat in 1900 for his anti-imperialist policies.

The muzzle in this cartoon is labeled "Republican legislation"; Schurz was not a fan of the economic policies of William Jennings Bryan, who peers out from behind a log in this next cartoon.
"Too old a chick to be caught by chaff."

Those wooden shoes are back as a signifier of German-Americans in this cartoon. Today, they would only be associated with the Dutch, if anyone. I have no idea whether there was some association of pigeons, grouse, plovers, or whatever kind of bird that's supposed to be with German-Americans, but I guess Germans may have tended to walk around Minneapolis wearing poofy hard-billed caps and oversize bow ties.

At least the bird isn't wearing pretzelhosen.

Monday, March 2, 2015

In Like a Sneak Peek

It's March! A time for springing ahead yet being wary of ides; wearin' the green while still shovelin' the white; coming in like a lion but going out like a lamb; honoring women's history and reading Little Women.