Monday, September 26, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Whom to Believe?

Streitkräfteback Saturday returns yet again to the cartoons running in the papers 100 years ago today. Give or take a few days.

When last we checked in on the war in Europe, the Germans were starving. At least, that's what the French (and those humorless Russians, for that matter) would have you believe.
"If Only the Dove of Peace Would Come!" by K. J. Hampol in Le Pêle Mêle, Paris, September, 1916
Not surprisingly, I haven't been finding many German cartoons lamenting food shortages. Admittedly, I'm not scouring German magazines, but one would think that if there were such cartoons, the Allied and Ally-sympathetic press would have picked up on them. So what were German cartoonists drawing about?
"The Strong Lungs of Messrs. Asquith and Briand" by E. Schilling in Wieland, Munich, September, 1916
The Schilling cartoon refers to British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith and to Aristide Briand, who held the French offices of Prime Minister and Foreign Minister at this point. My read on the cartoon is that it is lampooning them for empty belligerent talk while waving laurels of peace. German and German-American media were also belittling reports of Allied gains at the Somme, where the battle lines would continue to go back and forth for some time to come.

Under the category of Sour Grapes, we have another cartoon from Wieland, this about British victories at Calais, France and Saloniki (present day Thessalonika), Greece:
"Two Victories" by W. Trier in Wieland, Munich. September, 1916

With all sides weary of war, some Europeans hoped that America would step in as a neutral power to broker a peace deal.
"The Angel Of Peace Cannot Bother..." in Simplicissimus, Munich, September, 1916
Returning to the American press, this Chicago Examiner cartoon depicting, in the background, conflicting claims about the progress of the war offers proof that we've been complaining about our election campaigns for longer than you or I or grandpa has been around.
"Under Fire" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, September 26, 1916

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Q Toon: Diary of a Wimpy Gov

After the North Carolina-based Atlantic Coast Conference joined the NBA and NCAA in pulling their championship games out of the state over HB2 (the so-called "Bathroom Bill" passed to overturn Charlotte's LGBT rights ordinance), Governor Pat McCrory and Republicans in the state legislature made Charlotte a desperate offer:

Repeal your ordinance, Charlotte, and we'll repeal our law repealing your ordinance.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts is having none of it, telling the Charlotte Observer, "There's no legal reason for Charlotte to do anything."
City Attorney Bob Hagemann agreed. In the memo to Roberts and the council, he said the council’s failure to repeal the ordinance “is in no way a legal obstacle or impediment to the General Assembly’s ability to modify or repeal House Bill 2 as it deems appropriate.”
With North Carolina LGBT Pride underway in Raleigh-Durham this weekend, Charlotte should see plenty of support for its position.

I hope it's not too much of a stretch to depict Gov. McCrory as Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons. The two have very different facial types; McCrory's face is tall with a prominent nose and a crooked mouth; Wimpy has a round face with a round nose and a mouth that only shows up when he's eating. Wimpy's eyes leave plenty of room for his ample forehead; to caricature McCrory, the eyes have to be high on his face, and he has a full head of hair. On the other hand, both seem to squint a lot.

North Carolina cartoonist V.C. Rogers complimented me on a caricature of McCrory I'd sent for the display of HB2 cartoons up at the AAEC's Political Cartoon and Satire Festival this week. He took note of how I drew his nose; Rogers doesn't take the same approach, but produces an instantly recognizable likeness nevertheless. When I had drawn McCrory with a smaller nose earlier this year, I hadn't been quite satisfied with the result.

Most of the other cartoonists in the Tarheel State exaggerate their governor's schnozz, if not generally quite as much as I have this week. Kevin Siers has cast him in a Punch 'n' Judy show. Dwayne Powell often draws McCrory as a parrot. John Cole doesn't make the nose quite so prominent, but he keeps it tall.

The chef of the Charlotte Cafe, on the other hand, does not, and is not intended to resemble Mayor Roberts in any way. (The reference is to the character Roughhouse. And I hasten to add that this cartoon was drawn well before the protests over the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte police yesterday. Most of this blog post was, as well.)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Second Time Around

For Stonetempleback Saturday today, I'm just going to throw out an example of A Better Idea hitting me after deadline.

In September 1991, months after pulling American troops out of the Iraq War I, President George H.W. Bush's administration was again being bedeviled by Saddam Hussein. With the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the Department of Defense had to come up with another reason for their space-based missile programs and Hussein's refusal to accept defeat quietly was the best they could do.
That's Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Chief of Staff John Sununu flanking President Bush The Elder. Vice President Dan Quayle is the kid making the veiled reference to Communist China, a "most favored nation trading partner."

I can't say I was entirely pleased with that cartoon. Depicting Vice President J. Danforth Quayle as an intellectual lightweight was pretty low-hanging fruit in those days. Somebody actually devoted an entire quarterly publication to it, in fact.
Volume 1, Number 1, page 1.
I got the cartoon done by deadline, and that was the important thing at that moment in time.

Another issue in the news 25 years ago this month was the fear that the U.S. economy wasn't recovering as it had appeared to be: the talk was of a "double dip recession." And thence came a much better cartoon idea than the first.

For that matter, it resulted in a much better caricature of Bush.

By the way, The Quayle Quarterly was put out of business by the 1992 election. They did not move on to become The Al Goreterly.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

A number of issues have made it difficult for me to attend this year's Kenosha Festival of Cartooning as much as I would like, but I was able to make it down to the University of Wisconsin at Parkside last night to see the editorial cartoonists' panel discussion.
Ann Telnaes (Washington Post), Wiley Miller ("Non Sequitur"), Jen Sorensen (The Nib, Fusion), and John Hambrock ("The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee") discussed the role of editorial cartooning in this election year, as well as the reactions some of their cartoons have provoked. (It shouldn't be necessary to say, but strangers phoning a cartoonist's mother is way, way out of bounds. How would you like it if we drew your mother?)

If you're in the area, you'll find the rest of the festival at the Kenosha Public Museum downtown. If you're lucky, the exhibit of editorial cartoons, with works of Garry Trudeau, Kevin Kalaugher, Steve Brodner, Mike Ramirez, and many more might still be up at UW-P's Rita Tallent Pickens Hall.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Q Toon: Tears in a Bucket

Brenda Dale Knox, an actress, singer and celebrity of Savannah, Georgia better known as The Lady Chablis, died last week at the age of 59. The transgender icon came to national attention in John Berendt's book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (from which the quotation in this week's cartoon comes) and the Clint Eastwood movie adapted from it. As CNN put it, "She wasn't the book's main character, but she may have been its most memorable."

Berendt wrote of her, in the forward to her own book, Hiding My Candy, "She is a gifted comedienne whose humor is instinctive and whose power to amuse comes from exquisite timing, a flair for the outrageous, and — I trust she'll forgive me for saying so — balls."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Grim Anniversaries

Sloughback Saturday again...

A couple weeks ago, I included a cartoon about rank and file antipathy to the Latino-American Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department in 1991. Part of the MPA's grudge against Chief Arreola, stemmed from the suspension of police officers John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish.

Balcerzak and Gabrish had thwarted an attempted escape four months earlier by Konerak Sinthasomphone from serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. In September, 1991, I depicted them behind then Milwaukee Police Association President Bradley DeBraska being interviewed by then Channel 4 news anchor Mike Gousha.

In panel three, I reference Sandra Smith and Nicole Childress, the African-American women who called police that night in May, 1991,
When police arrived at 25th Street early in the morning of May 27, Dahmer told them that Konerak was 19 years old, that he was a houseguest who had too much to drink, that he was his lover.
The boy, really 14 years old, was reportedly naked and impaired by drugs or alcohol, and police believed Dahmer`s story.
Smith and Childress tried to tell the officers that the boy was in trouble, but they refused to listen, telling the citizens to "get lost," Smith charged.
"One of them said to me, 'I`ve been investigating for seven years, and I don't need an amateur telling me what to do.'"
The officers then pursued their probe, telling the boy (whom one police source described as incoherent at the time) to sit on the car. They talked only with Dahmer.
Had Balcerzak and Gabrish checked Dahmer's criminal record, they would have found that Dahmer was a convicted sex offender -- convicted of assaulting Sinthasomphone's older brother. Yet astonishingly, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, the officers entered Dahmer's apartment, where the body of Tony Hughes was rotting in the bedroom, and found nothing amiss.

Balcerzak would later be elected president of the Milwaukee Police Association from 2005 to 2009. Gabrish is currently the Police Chief of Trenton, Wisconsin.


Since tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of 9/11, I'm reprinting here the cartoon I drew on 9/10.
I drew this cartoon to accompany the Milwaukee Business Journal editorial that week, eulogizing Milwaukee philanthropist Jane Bradley Pettit, who died on Sunday, September 9, 2001. The daughter and niece of the founders of Allen-Bradley Corporation, she was married to Schlitz Brewing heir Joseph Uihlein prior to her marriage to Lloyd Pettit; you can find those names all over the city of Milwaukee.

(I'm not sure what happened to the electronic version of this cartoon; I like the softening of the caricature, but the words were originally much sharper.)

I was busy scanning, cleaning up and emailing this cartoon to the Business Journal offices that Tuesday morning as the planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I knew nothing of the attack until I was driving to work and heard NPR's reporting from the Pentagon as the third plane struck.

Friday, September 9, 2016

What Is a Leppo?

You might not have known what Verdun was in 1906, or Midway in 1936, or Da Nang in 1956, or Aleppo in 2006, and still be taken seriously as a potential leader of the free world.

Add ten years to any of those, and, no, not so much. Sorry Mr. Johnson.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Q Toon: Candidate of Change

She may be behind in the polls by double digits, but I thought this might be a good time to take note of Misty Snow, the Democratic nominee for Utah's Senate seat, currently held by Tea Partisan Mike Lee. Snow is the first transgender candidate to win a major party nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Democrats don't stand much of a chance to win statewide elections in Utah, and it probably doesn't help Snow that she has what sounds like a porn name. Being transgender, she can't blame her parents for that. Officially, she is running as Misty K. Snow, which at least upgrades her name to sounding like the stage name of a satellite radio DJ.

Watson A. Name

"Misty" isn't even short for another name, as Cassie, Cindy, Betsy or Sandy are. Unless there's some female equivalent of Mstislav.

I was trying to think whether any male names presented the same sort of handicap as "Misty," Take-Me-Serious-wise. We've had a Vice President Hubert and a President Jimmy; a candidate could probably get away with a moniker like Chip or Butch. Walter Mondale was well advised not to campaign as Wally; but nobody addresses Bernie Sanders as "Bernard."

The worst male name for public office I've been able to think of is "Scooter," although that's not too far removed from "Scoop," the name of a long-time Senator from Washington. Scoop Jackson was even taken seriously as a presidential candidate in 1976 (just not by actual voters).

Lindsey Graham, perhaps, could only have gotten elected in South Carolina.

Monday, September 5, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek

Happy Labor Day to all of my American readers!

To everyone else, I understand that it's confusing that the United States celebrates May Day in September.

But we compensate for it by celebrating Mexican independence in May.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Labor Day, 1916

Strikeback Saturday makes up for last week's quickie glance at 1916 to celebrate Labor Day Weekend by taking a long, hard look at U.S. labor relations 100 years ago.
"Capital, Labor, and War Prosperity" by John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, August 18, 1916
The two issues in the doorway of this first Winsor McCay cartoon are the Workman's Compensation Act and the Keating Owen Child Labor Bill.
"Save the Children First, Senators!" by Winsor McCay in New York American, July, 1916
Congress went on its vacation anyway, so both issues were still waiting for them when they got back.
"Training Our Next Generation!" by Winsor McCay in New York American, July, 1916
The Child Labor Bill sponsored by Congressman Edward Keating (D-CO) and Senator Robert L. Owen (D-OK) sought to prohibit the sale in interstate commerce of goods produced by factories that employed children under 14, mines that employed children younger than 16, and any facility where children under 14 worked after 7:00 p.m., before 6:00 a.m., or more than eight hours per day. The bill had almost unanimous support from Republican senators, as well as the strong backing of the Democratic President, Woodrow Wilson.
"Getting Admission, but No Welcome" by John Knott in Dallas News, 1916
It faced strong opposition, however, from advocates of "states' rights," particularly southern senators. With slave labor a thing of the past and migrant labor a thing of the future (at least in the American Southeast), southern textile mills relied more heavily than other regions and industries on cheap, poorly educated child labor. Democrat Lee Slater Overman was Senator from North Carolina from 1903 to 1930, and literally made this argument in defense of child labor:
"See, It Keeps Them Out of Mischief" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, 1916
The only two Republican Senators opposing the bill were Boies Penrose and George T. Oliver, both of Pennsylvania, which may have endeared them to the coal mining interests, but earned them plenty of condemnation from home state newspapers. "Is it any wonder," editorialized the Philadelphia Public Ledger, "that hundreds and thousands of Pennsylvanians hang their heads in shame when Pennsylvania's representation in the Senate of the United States is brought to their attention?"
"Their Parting Shot" by Frederick T. Richards in Philadelphia North American, 1916
After an initial defeat prompted some changes to the bill, Congress, including 11 of the Southern Democratic Senators, passed the Keating Owen Child Labor Act on September 1, 1916 with a provision that it go into effect a year later. Siding with a North Carolina textile mill owner, however, the Supreme Court would rule it an unconstitutional regulation of interstate commerce in Hammer v. Dagenhart in 1918.

Labor conditions for adults were at issue in 1916 as well. The Kern-McGillicuddy Federal Employees' Compensation Act mentioned in the first McCay cartoon above passed Congress on September 7, creating compensation for federal employees who lost income due to on-the-job injury.
"The Goat" by Clarence Batchelor in Topeka State Journal, August, 1916
New York street railway workers began an extended strike in August seeking the right to unionize and a five-cent increase in pay. Streetcar management refused to deal with the union, insisting that they would only deal with workers as individuals  certainly not with some "alien organization" with offices out of town. The dispute continued throughout August and September, with management trying to scuttle agreements hammered out through arbitration with Mayor J.P. Mitchel, and New York trade unions nearly instituting a general strike.
"If They All Strike It Will Be Like This," by Sidney J. Greene for New York Telegram, August 4, 1916
Meanwhile, a national railroad strike by the 360,000 engineers, brakemen, firemen, conductors and other workers on the nation's 225 railways threatened to grind America's economy to a standstill.
"The Big Fellow Pays the Freight" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Evening Dispatch, August, 1916

The central issue was the unions' demand for an eight-hour day, with overtime pay beyond that.
"The Millstone" by Alford in Baltimore Star, September, 1916
Wilson called unions and railroad management to a White House summit in August for two days of arbitration. Failing to bring the parties to an agreement, Wilson pressured the Congress to take up the "Adamson Bill," named for Congressman William C. Adamson (D-GA), promising a 16% pay raise for railroad workers and, on a trial basis, the 8-hour day.
"Making the Straw Fly" by Ole May in Cleveland Leader, August/September, 1916
Over Republican objections, including those voiced by presidential candidate Charles Evans Hughes, the Adamson Bill was introduced and passed by the House on September 1, passed by the Senate on September 2, signed into law on September 3, and went into effect on September 5. If ever a bill was "railroaded" through Congress, this was it.
"Mediation" by T.E. Powers in Hearst Newspapers, September, 1916
At any rate, the strike was thus averted, leaving implementation of the details up to the rail barons. Federal regulation of private companies' working hours was unprecedented; but in this instance, the Supreme Court would uphold the Adamson Act (Wilson v. New,1917).

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Q Toon: Almost There

This week's cartoon was sparked by a recent Washington Post story by Robert Samuels focusing on Hillary Clinton's efforts over the years to finesse LGBT rights issues without upsetting religious conservatives.
While most national politicians have been slow to evolve on gay marriage, Clinton’s handling of it was particularly saddening to some activists because they had expected more. Clinton and her husband, Bill, had stood out as being among the first to actively court the gay community as an interest group and donor base — and yet they were unwilling to stand with the community on one of its biggest civil rights issues.
Framing the issue as I have in this cartoon, I realize that it may appear that I am buying into the right-wing talking point of "Lying Hillary" (which conveniently ignores Donald Trump's fact-free campaigning) just as her poll numbers are coming back to Earth. I can't help but notice how those fund-raising emails in my inbox are getting increasingly desperate.

So I'm sorry to disappoint Ms. Clinton, but she should have known that we liberals do not move in lockstep, unlike certain vast conspiracies one could name. You don't think so?

Having now drawn a cartoon pointing out a weakness of the Democratic nominee for President, I hereby dare A.F. Branco to draw one pointing out any weakness of the Republican nominee.