Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Cabinet of Dr. Feelgood

In light of Donald Joffrey Trump's failed nomination of presidential physician Adm. Ronny Jackson as Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, Snookerback Saturday takes a look at a few other aborted cabinet nominations of the past.

The Granddaddy of failed cabinet nominations was President Andrew Johnson's attempt to appoint Lorenzo Thomas as Secretary of War in 1868. It was not the first such appointment, but it was the only one that resulted in the impeachment of a U.S. President.
"The Situation," unsigned in Harper's Weekly, March 7, 1868
Republicans in Congress had passed a law to prevent Johnson from firing Edwin Stanton (holding the cannon sponge in the above cartoon), the Secretary of War whom he had inherited from Abraham Lincoln. Johnson fired him anyway — twice — and named Major General Lorenzo Thomas (leaning against Johnson) to replace him. Congress drew up eleven articles of impeachment, three of which charged that Thomas's appointment was unconstitutional, and four more of which accused Johnson and Thomas of conspiring "to hinder and prevent Edwin M. Stanton, then and there, the Secretary for the Department of War...from holding said office."

The Senate ultimately fell one vote shy of the 2/3 majority needed to convict Johnson, but by then, the president had agreed to withdraw Thomas's nomination. Stanton didn't get the job back either;  Gen. John Schofield served as Secretary of War for the remaining months of the Johnson administration.

The Thomas episode revolved about momentous policy issues of Reconstruction after the Civil War. Modern Day failed nominations so far have not risen to the level of impeachable offenses, but we'll see what happens when Trump tries to replace the top echelons of the Justice Department with Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, and whoever does his hair.

In the meantime, I'm starting with President George H.W. Bush's nomination of Senator John Tower (R-TX) to be Secretary of Defense in 1989. As a Senator, Tower had wielded considerable power and influence as Chair of the Armed Services Committee; after leaving the Senate, he headed the presidential commission investigating the Iran-Contra affair. Some conservatives of the day considered him too moderate, however, and other colleagues found him brusque and overbearing. Once he was named to President Bush's cabinet, he was beset by allegations, leveled at him during a bitter divorce two years earlier, that he was a boozer and womanizer.

For the first time in history, the Senate rejected an incoming president's cabinet nominee, voting 47-53 against their former colleague. Some Senators were only too happy to give Tower his comeuppance. "They're pretty straightforward what they do in Beirut," Tower said later, comparing Washington D.C. to the then war-torn capital of Lebanon. "They hurl a grenade at someone or shoot a machine gun. Up here, it's a little more subtle, but just as ruthless, just as brutal. They kill you in a different way."

Bush's replacement nomination of Wyoming Congressman Dick Cheney went off without a hitch, and I'll probably come back to this cartoon again someday. But let's move on to the next administration and its stumble out of the blocks trying to name an Attorney General.

Zoë Baird was Bill Clinton's first nominee to head the Justice Department in 1993, but was compelled to withdraw after it became public that she and her husband had hired undocumented immigrants as nanny and chauffeur; moreover, they had not paid required Social Security taxes on those employees' wages.  It turned out that Clinton's second choice, Kimba Wood, had also hired an undocumented immigrant as a nanny; but unlike Baird, she had paid the woman's Social Security taxes. Wood had done nothing illegal, but the stink of "Nannygate" resulted in Clinton going with his third choice, Janet Reno.

Nor was Clinton quite finished fumbling his Justice Department appointments. He withdrew his appointment of Lani Guinier as Assistant Attorney General in June of 1993 over Republican complaints that her academic writings supposedly revealed her to be a "quota queen."

Kimba Wood, by the way, has been back in the news lately as the judge presiding over motions arising out of the search warrant of Trump affair-fixer Michael Cohen's home and office.

Returning to the Clinton Administration: After the resignation of Secretary of Defense Les Aspin in December, 1993, Clinton named Admiral Bobby Ray Inman to replace him. Aspin had not been popular within the Pentagon, and took the fall for military fatalities in Somalia.

At first, Inman's appointment basked in bipartisan support; but then he abruptly withdrew his nomination, angrily complaining to the press about New York Times columnist William Safire accusing him of "anti-Israel bias." Inman also claimed that Senators Bob Dole (R-KS) and Trent Lott (R-MS) were planning to "turn up the heat" on his nomination, which both senators denied.

There have been other unsuccessful cabinet nominations since these, but none that I have cartooned about, I'm afraid. As had Baird and Wood, a couple of George W. Bush's nominees had undocumented immigrant troubles; now that we have a president whose hotels, golf courses and other assorted ventures have no doubt seen their share of undocumented workers, I guess that's not such a big deal any more. The Obama administration started off with a trio of failed cabinet nominations: Tom Daschle, Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg all withdrew from consideration for one reason or another.

I don't recall any of those past presidents calling up cable TV morning news crews to throw a tantrum live on the air, however. Unless perhaps Andrew Johnson sent a nasty telegram to Harper's Weekly.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Q Toon: Devil's Advocates

Buzz and Killer return this week with a question for our times.

The answer, of course, is that it would take an amendment to the Constitution, because Mr. Yiannopoulos was not born an American citizen.

Yiannopoulos, for those of you who have forgotten his fifteen minutes of fame last year, is a British-born, racist, Breitbartian provocateur whose schtick was getting invited by college Republican groups to speak on their campuses (campi?), usually provoking protests that prompted college administrators to cancel his speech. He is also gay, which made him a darling of the far right — their Token Homosexual — until he expressed his approval of pedophilia.

Now they have Kanye West, so as far as the Sinclair-Fox-Breitbart crowd is concerned, Black is the New Gay.

His star having fallen, Yiannopoulos wasn't the best example of somebody right-wing evangelicals would rally around the way they have steadfastly defended the Prince President of Lies, Donald Joffrey Trump. I'm fully convinced that not only would they stick by him if he shot somebody on Fifth Avenue, they'd stick by him even if that somebody were Franklin Graham.

While performing an abortion. On his daughter. Of his incestuous love child. And bragging about it every step of the way.

Those right-wing evangelicals have already sold their souls to him.

The rest is merely haggling over the price.

Monday, April 23, 2018

This Week's Sneak Peek

Buzz and Killer are back this week, and not in conjunction with any holiday this time.

No, they're not even celebrating Arbor Day.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Paris Under the Gun

Seigeback Saturday returns to breaking news from 100 years ago in World War I. Nothing demonstrates the power of human ingenuity quite like our indefatigable ability to find new ways to kill each other in war. If necessity is the mother of invention, animosity is its nursemaid.

On March 21, 1918, Germany began shelling the French capital from 75 miles away with a brand new long-range cannon. Variously named the Pariser Kanone or Kaiser Wilhelm Geschütz, it fired the first man-made projectiles to reach the stratosphere; the rotation of the Earth during the three minutes the shells were airborne had to be taken into account in calculating their trajectory.

21 shells landed on Paris on the first day. Since the gun was out of earshot, Parisians at first thought they were being bombed by unseen high-altitude planes or zeppelins. But it didn't take long for the French military to determine that the shells were being fired from somewhere in German-occupied northern France.
"Die Märchenkanone" by J. Bahr in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, April 14, 1918
German media gleefully reported the news of their fantastic new weapon. Bahr's cartoon above apparently refers to a practice of spitting cherry pits at someone who has put on airs; perhaps there's some fairy tale about an auntie doing so. At any rate, the French ministry, press, telegraph and stock exchange are shown cowering underground — in the sewers perhaps — from Langen Tante's barrage of  kirschkerne.
"In Pariser Kellern" by Karl Arnold in Simplicissimus, Munich, April 23, 1918
From the safety of their drawing boards in Berlin and Munich, it was easy for German cartoonists to make schadenfreude of Parisians' plight.
"Neue Entene-Rüstungen" by Richter in Kladderadatsch,  Berlin, April 21, 1918
Another Kladderadatsch cartoonist ridicules the Entente powers, depicting them as having to resort to medieval defensive strategies against Germany's 20th Century weaponry. And over at Simplicissimus, one of their cartoonists shifted the blame for Paris's suffering to one of her allies.
"Jeanne d'Arc" by Wilhelm Schulz in Simplicissimus, Munich, April 30, 1918
Yet another Simplicissimus cartoonist came closer to accepting German responsibility, recalling a much more recent French conflict.
"Die Bescheissung von Paris" by Ragnvald Blix in Simplicissimus, April 16, 1918

"Kolossal Kanon" by Léo Lechevallier in Le Rire, Paris, April 20, 1918
Meanwhile, the targets of the Paris Gun were understandably much less sanguine about being shelled on a daily basis by an enemy unseen over the horizon.
"Le Kanon d'Hérode" by Jean-Louis Cureau in Le Rire, Paris, April 20, 1918
By its nature, the Paris Gun was not a precision weapon; the Germans could not see their targets to aim at anything in particular. Its intent was to demoralize citizens of the French capital with its very randomness. The allies therefore played up the shock value of its victims, such as the 91 killed at St.-Gervais-et-St.-Protais Church during Good Friday mass, for maximum propaganda effect.
"The Long Range Hunter" by Bob Satterfield in Cleveland News, ca. April 20, 1918
Between March and August, the Germans fired at least 320 shells into Paris, killing 250 and wounding 620. It took that long before Entente armies forced the German military to retreat and to haul their massive weapon with them back across the Rhine. Germany completely dismantled the gun and destroyed the Krupp munition records of its construction before the country's ultimate surrender in November, so its precise design specs remain unknown.
"The Kaiser's Barometer" by Bob Satterfield, in Cleveland News, ca. April 15, 1918
But in the spring of 1918, Germany was enjoying some degree of success on the battlefield. With no threat from the east, German forces were able to concentrate on their western front. 106 German divisions took part in the Spring Offensive, nearly breaking through the British lines until French reinforcements arrived to push the Germans back.
"Paying Too Much for His Whistle" by Jay N. "Ding" Darling, ca. April 15, 1918
Entente propagandists could point out the high cost of German victories in human life, but in truth, both sides were guilty of regarding their soldiers as expendable. On April 11, British Commander in Chief Sir Douglas Haig declared, "Many amongst us now are tired.  To those I would say that Victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest.... There is no other course open to us but to fight it out.  Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement.  With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end."
"Haig's Report" by Bob Satterfield in Cleveland News, ca. April 19, 1918
Meanwhile, for America's cartoonists, April was Liberty Loan month. Day after day, they cranked out appeals to their countrymen to dig into their pockets in support of the the third Liberty Loan drive. Having to draw on the same appeal again and again, few cartoonists produced anything inspired or original; there are only so many ways one can shame fellow citizens for hanging onto their hard-earned cash, or depict the Kaiser cringing from American banknotes.
Excerpt from The Rectangle by Frank O. King in Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1918
But even newspapers which were not in the habit of running cartoons on the front page ran these pleas for cash up above the fold. That includes one or two surprising examples, such as this entire front page from a German-language newspaper in Texas:
I notice, however, that nobody bothered to translate the text of the uncredited (John McCutcheon, perhaps?) poster into German.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q Toon: Xi Who Must Be Obeyed

In a move supposedly to comply with China's new cybersecurity laws, the country's version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, began a crackdown last week against material deemed to run counter to socialist ideals. Prominent among the material censored by Weibo were gay-themed texts, games, and anime.
The Cybersecurity Law doesn’t mention LGBT issues, and the Chinese Psychiatric Association in 2001 removed homosexuality and bisexuality from their list of illnesses. However, a ban on depictions of gay people in online video and audio content was unveiled last year.
The China Netcasting Services Association, the industry group that launched the ban, said that gay people have “abnormal sexual relationships” similar to incest or rape.
An on-line protest with the hashtag #IAmGay (wo shi tongxinglian) sprang up immediately against the move, and appears to have succeeded in getting Weibo to recalibrate its censorship. On Monday, Weibo announced:
“This time, the cleanup of anime and games won’t target gay content. It is mainly [meant] to clean up content related to pornography, violence, and gore. Thank you for your discussions and suggestions,” as translated by WhatsonWeibo.
 Although homosexuality was not specifically mentioned in the 2017 cybersecurity law, Chinese officials including President Xi Jinping are on record including homosexuality as a violation of communist ideology. Rules laid out by the Chinese government last summer provided for censorship of any content published on line or elsewhere that doesn't "adhere to Chinese values."
Programs that undermined a respectful national image, ridiculed leaders, promoted negative or decadent views of life and showed the “dark side” of society would be edited, or in severe cases stopped.
President Xi Jinping has overseen measures to clamp down on independent online media, while reasserting the ruling Communist Party’s role in limiting and guiding online discussion....
The new rules also laid out a range of issues that did not meet with approval, including violence, drug addiction, extramarital affairs and religious cults.
Also on the list was homosexuality, underlining the conservative official view on same-sex relations.
So we'll see how long #IAmGay wins out over #IAmPresidentForLife.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sundays in the Park with Adolf

Retiring Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has vowed to stay out of the Republican primary to succeed him.

So have the most prominent politicians who could have run.

Wisconsin State Assembly Majority Leader Robin Vos and former Republican Party National Chairman Reince Priebus were the only potential candidates with name recognition outside their own respective bailiwicks, but withdrew from consideration in the first couple days after Ryan announced his retirement. State Senators David Craig, Van Wangaard, and Steve Nass and Assembly members Amy Laudenbeck and Tyler August also took themselves out of the running.

So far, the only announced Republican candidate is Paul Nehlen*. Nehlen had announced his candidacy well before Ryan withdrew his; Nehlen had challenged Ryan in 2016, representing the Breitbart/Steve Bannon/Ann Coulter wing of the party. He was endorsed by Phyllis Schlaffly, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, and Gun Rights PAC that year. Donald Trump had toyed with the prospect of endorsing Nehlen in retaliation for Ryan's reluctance to support Trump's presidential campaign, but ultimately made nice with the Speaker of the House, who trounced Nehlen in the 2016 primary by a 6-to-1 margin.

Newspapers in Wisconsin's First CD were calling on Nehlen to quit the 2018 race because of his execrable racist views, even before Ryan pulled out. He was banned from Twitter in February after posting an image of Prince Harry's biracial fiancée Meghan Markle that was photoshopped to make her look like prehistoric Cheddar Man. A few days before that, he had posted a list of his critics, their phone numbers, e-mails and Twitter handles, adding, “Of those 81 people, 74 are Jews, while only 7 are non-Jews,” sparking a neo-Nazi flame war against them.

In another anti-Semitic tweet, Nehlen posted “Poop, incest, and pedophilia. Why are those common themes repeated so often with Jews?” But he's an equal opportunity bigot. He has told listeners of fellow Nazi David Duke's podcast that he'd like to see Trump's Ugly Wall equipped with “armed machine gun turrets every 300 yards. And you can automate those. Anyone who approaches that barrier will be treated as an enemy combatant. Man, woman or child.”

Rest assured, however, that Nehlen will not remain unchallenged for his party's nomination.

Bryan Steil, a former Ryan staffer currently serving on the board of regents of the University of Wisconsin, and State Rep. Samantha Kerkman are still weighing their options. Lack of name recognition at this date shouldn't hurt either one; very few residents had heard of Paul Ryan before he first ran for Congress in 1998, but he had the strong backing of the national GOP. Redistricting in 2000 and 2010 coupled with exurban sprawl out of Chicago has made the 1st CD increasingly Republican, so whoever wins the August primary may still have an advantage over the Democratic nominee even in this "blue wave" year.
* Update: There's some guy named Nick Polce who also announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination last fall. All I know about him is that he's an Army Green Beret veteran (2002-2014) recently moved to Lake Geneva who checks all the far right-wing boxes and describes himself as part of the "freedom movement."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Enviro-Stewardship: And Behold, It Was Tov Me’od

Since October, I've been posting Dad's monthly "Environmental Stewardship" column, which he writes for local church newsletters. Here's John Berge's column for May: 

I recently read that “The Hebrew vocabulary includes no word equivalent to our term ‘Nature,’" by which we include all the plants, animals and microscopic creatures, usually excluding human beings.

I presume this lack of of a Hebrew word is also true of the term ‘Environment,’ which includes the physical elements that surround us – rocks, soil, air and water. ‘Ecology’ comes to us from the Greek, but even though the New Testament was written in Greek, I doubt its inclusion since the word was coined much later. This does does make it difficult at times to translate environmental and ecological messages from the Old Testament to the present. But the messages are there in abundance.
"Genesis 1" by Maximino Cerezo Barredo
For example, in the first creation story in Genesis, after each of the first stages (days) of the creation, God saw that it was “good.” After the creation of man and woman he saw that it was “very good” because now there were stewards to care for His creation, to have “dominion” over all. Dominion is best interpreted as not domination but stewardship.

In the New Testament, in an event which is not generally considered an ecological or environmental reference, Luke tells of the healing of ten lepers. (Luke 17:11-14) They were told to “go and show.” They were to walk in order to be cleansed. Likewise, to be good stewards of God’s creation, we must act, not just talk or muse about the problems that face us in protecting our environment for ourselves, our offspring and our God, but walk the talk.

The City of Racine is taking two such actions: There is a growing group, including the City Administrator, who are aiming Racine towards being a waste-free city, an excellent target to work toward – whether it can eventually be attained or not. Every department in the city is to search out goals and programs to reach this objective, not only within their department but within those portions of the city over which they have jurisdiction or influence.

The second action is to initiate a city commitment to the Paris Accord. This agreement aims to respond to the global climate change threat by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2º Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Several cities in Wisconsin, including Kenosha to our south and Milwaukee to our north, have committed to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

What specific goals, challenges and efforts the city will make has not been determined at this time, but it will take actions by all citizens as well as government to reach the goals of the Paris Accord, with or without leadership by the President and the Federal Government. As environmental stewards, appointed by God in Genesis, we all must act.

Note from Paul: Google Translate gives "טבע" (teva) as the Hebrew word for "nature." It may be a non-Talmudic word; if you want to delve into that further, there's a theological discussion here.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tax Week's Sneak Peek

I was trying to find a more Marxist-sounding honorific for this cartoon, but couldn't find anything that fit in one line.

Most exalted comrade?

Your proletariacy?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

New to My Comic Book Collection

Today's installment of Sketchback Saturday takes the form of a book report.

A few months ago, I pre-ordered Bill Sanders's forthcoming retrospective of his editorial cartooning career. I have both of the books published while he was the cartoonist for The Milwaukee Journal. Head for the Oval Room deals primarily the Nixon administration, some of which is also repeated in The Sanders Book. The latter book includes cartoons not only about the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations, but about Wisconsin and Milwaukee issues as well.

I'm looking forward to receiving the new book, which promises cartoons from his retiree years, but also examples of Sanders's early career with Stars and Stripes, The Greensboro Daily News, and The Kansas City Star. Given how different in style his Milwaukee cartoons are from his earlier work, it should be interesting to see how that evolution took place.
"How Much Are We Really Involved Here" by Bill Sanders in Greensboro Daily News, ca. March, 1962
When I pre-ordered Against the Grain, I browsed around to see if there was anything else I'd be interested in, finding Jim Morin's 2016 collection from his 40+ years with The Miami Herald. I've long been fascinated by his distinctive cross-hatch style, which I'd describe as David Levine meets "Ding" Darling.
One of the more intriguing facets of Morin's book is how its date of publication influenced his choice of cartoons. In particular, there are a handful of cartoons about Donald Trump's brief campaign in 1999 for the presidential nomination of H. Ross Perot's Reform Party. Editorial cartoon books take up two and a half shelves of my bookcase, and although three or four of those books deal specifically with the year 1999, Jim Morin's World is the first book I've seen to devote any ink to Trump's short-lived flirtation with presidential politics that year.

I have to say that I barely took any notice of Candidate Trump at the time, myself; my editors at Q Syndicate, the Milwaukee Business Journal, and the Racine Journal Times probably wouldn't have been interested in cartoons about him anyway. Had Jim Morin published his book a year earlier, I suspect none of his Donald Trump cartoons would have made the cut for this book, so it's fortuitous that he had a chance to dig up his material about a nearly forgotten episode from when the current president first dipped his toes into political waters.
"Looks Like His Last Trip to Moscow Just Backfired" by Jim Morin in Miami Herald, June, 1985.
As another example of how the date of publication influences choice of material, the above cartoon is not in Morin's book. I'm not advocating for this particular cartoon, merely noting that it might have been included if this were a book about the Reagan years, since Nicaragua was a BFD in the 1980s. The Iran-Contra scandal, which hinged in part on a White House scheme to circumvent Congress to send arms to right-wing guerrillas in the Central American country, threatened to bring down the Reagan administration, but rates only two cartoons in this book. Nowadays, we only hear about Nicaragua when it gets hit by an earthquake or hurricane, so it's of less interest today.

Besides, there was so much else going on in the 1980s, even without a president tweeting all his brain farts every morning. If anyone is still publishing editorial cartoon memoirs thirty years from now, there will be an awful lot that seems of tremendous import today that will end up on the cutting room floor tomorrow.

Another cartooning memoir recent to my collection is The First and Only Book of Sack (only available from the Star Tribune and currently only on back order) by Steve Sack, featuring the best of his cartoons for the Minneapolis Star Tribune from 1981 to 2017. It's too bad that he didn't also include his older cartoons for The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, such as the one below. Mr. Sack is not a packrat, however, and it's extremely unlikely that foraging through his Indiana cartoons would have turned up any early drawings of Mike Pence, who, after all, was still in college at the time.
"Jump!" by Steve Sack in Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, August, 1980
From a cartoonist's standpoint, one of the joys of this book is to watch how Sack has adapted his style to evolving technologies. Sack has been an early adopter of computerized drawing techniques, ditching the extensive pen and ink crosshatching of his early work in favor of a succession of various media: charcoal, sharpie, watercolor, digital tablet, and iPad. Through it all remains a distinctive touch unlike that of anyone else in the biz.

Due to its publication date, Sack's book includes a handful of cartoons about Senator Al Franken (who also wrote the first of the book's four forewords) and one of Garrison Keillor, but none which reflect either man's #TimesUp fall from grace. The Keillor cartoon is especially unintentionally ironic, depicting the Prairie Home Companion host hiding out from a horde of sex-crazed women. The original context of the cartoon was that Keillor had been named one of Playgirl's Sexiest Men Alive in 1986. (Sack observes that one of the other men on that year's list was Donald Trump).

Such is the risk in any collection of topical writing; editorial cartoons almost always have an ephemeral quality to them. (Just check out any cartoon about Herbert Hoover before October, 1929.) I don't imagine that Sack's book is on back order because he's slipping in some hasty updates, because he'd just have to do it again in a matter of months.

We'll just have to wait until The First and Only Book's sequel.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Q Toon: All Your Data Are Belong to Us

While Facebook has been getting a lot of attention from Congress and the mainstream media this week, Grindr has also had to hastily explain to its customers that its same-sex dating app has shared users' HIV statuses (stati?), with two outside analytics firms.
Further analysis also revealed that Grindr is sharing users’ precise GPS position, sexuality, relationship status, ethnicity, and phone ID to other third-party advertising companies. This information – which didn’t include HIV status data – was sometimes being shared in a ‘plain text’ format, which meant it could be easily hacked.

Anyone who uses a computer hooked up to the internet has seen their privacy eroded bit by megabit over the years. Those cookies piling up unseen in the bowels of our computers are, we are told, essential components of our on-line existence. But they result in experiences such as this: I was looking for some sheet music on-line last week, and ever since, the advertising on has been nothing but sheet music.

You no doubt have had the same experience. Well after you bought that clothes dryer at Best Buy, every Dick and Harry seems to be trying to sell you another one.

Facebook took that business even further, enabling Big to glean everything knowable about you because some idle friend of yours on Facebook answered a questionnaire to find out which H.R. Puff'n'stuff character he is, or decided to prove that, why yes, she could indeed think of a word that contains a vowel, so there!

Then, through no fault of your own, your news feed becomes rife with stories about Hillary Clinton wanting to confiscate everyone's clothes dryers.

Now, as for the Grindr breach, the company assures its LGBTQ users that their data was shared responsibly, and that they're in no danger of it (them?) getting out to potential employers, TMZ or Vice President Pence.
Still, [chief security officer Bryce] Case defended Grindr's decision to share the data, arguing that Apptimize and Localytics are simply tools to help apps like Grindr function better, and that the information was not shared to make money or for other nefarious purposes.
Case stressed that the HIV data had only been shared with Apptimize as part of Grindr's standard rollout procedure for new features on the app. In this case, it was part of a new opt-in feature that would allow users to be reminded to get tested for HIV. The company stopped sharing the information with the third party when the feature was rolled out last week, Case said.
Whether or not Grindr's users begin to shy away from the company's outreach efforts, this episode demonstrates the need to update the 22-year-old rules for patient privacy observed by every hospital, doctor, and insurance company in the country.
Grindr data breach is a wake-up call for policymakers to revisit and revise privacy regulations, specifically the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Since 1996, HIPAA has governed the patient privacy and protection of private medical information. Back then, policymakers did not foresee situations in which sensitive medical data is shared with a platform that is not involved in medical care. Therefore HIPAA only covers medical providers and their business associates and does not pertain to platforms such as Grindr. Had a similar breach happened at a hospital, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would immediately start a thorough investigation, fine the hospital, and ensure that adequate policies are in place to prevent breaches in future.
Under the Corrupt Trump Administration, I doubt that any investigation into Grindr's data breach would not be focused on protecting user's privacy but in shutting the app down, or at least ferreting out gay, bi and trans soldiers in the armed forces. And I shudder to imagine what the congressional hearings would be like.

Monday, April 9, 2018

This Week's Sneak Peek

On this day 152 years ago, The Civil Rights Act of 1866, the United States' first federal law to affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law, was enacted, overriding a veto by President Andrew Johnson.

This week's cartoon has nothing to do with that, since the law didn't do anything to prevent states from requiring this guy to go to the back of the bus.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

50 Years After MLK

When I found out that in his blog on Wednesday, Mike Peterson was going to display editorial cartoons drawn upon the assassination 50 years ago this week of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I seriously considered shelving my plans to do the same today.

But I had already begun the project; and really, what topic more deserves a trip in the wayback machine this week?
"The Nation Is Shamed — Again" by "T.S." in Washington Afro-American, Washington, D.C., April 9, 1968
I'll start with two examples I found in the African-American press. Many of the editorial cartoons in the Afro-American were left unsigned, but this one (and eventually several more in the 1970s and 80s) is signed with the initials "T.S." I believe "T.S" is Ted Shearer, most famous for creating the comic strip Quincy in 1970; Tim Jackson's Pioneering Cartoonists of Color is the only reference I have found to mention specifically his having drawn editorial cartoons. Shearer did draw for the Afro-American before launching Quincy, so until someone tells me otherwise, I'll credit this one to him.

Surely Dr. King's legacy influenced King Features' decision to syndicate Shearer's comic strip centered on Black American children in an un-whitewashed urban setting.
"Leadership..." by Robert S. Pious for Continental Features, April, 1968
Robert Savon Pious, in addition to drawing for pulp magazines, posters and WPA murals, had an established a career drawing editorial cartoons for the African-American press since the 1930s. His memorial cartoon here attempts to sum up Dr. King's life in images and brief quotations, and one can only imagine how difficult emotionally it must have been for Pious to draw it. (Regrettably, The Indianapolis Recorder cropped this cartoon rather poorly, and there is an unfortunate typo in the cut line.)
"Civil Rights Report" by Herblock in Washington Post, April, 1968
So, on to the white guys.

In those first days of April, 1968, editorial cartoonists must have felt inundated by the monumentally important news events cascading one after another. You may have become numb to the barrage of earthshaking news we feel on a minute-by-minute basis every day of the Corrupt Trump Administration in which this morning's lead story is this afternoon's sidebar; but 1968 was before the age of Twitter, or 24-hour news channels propelling the national conversation.
"Below Olympus" by Frank Interlandi in Los Angeles Times, April, 1968
President Johnson had gone on TV on March 31 to announce a halt to U.S. bombing of North Vietnam and also that he would not run for reelection. The first was to bolster peace talks, still foundering on the shape of the negotiating table at that point; the second threw the presidential race wide open. Students across the nation were protesting against racial discrimination and the war; an occupation of  college officials' offices at Bowie State College in Baltimore had just ended. A group of white students at the University of St. Thomas in Houston had organized themselves as a barrier to protect black protesters on college campuses from hostile police. In Congress, Conservative Southern Democrats, Goldwater Republicans, and real estate lobbyists were trying to block the Fair Housing Act.

And Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King announced that he would return to Memphis meet with strategists of the Garbage Collectors' strike and business boycott, in spite of violence having broken out while he was there to march in support of the sanitation workers on March 28. People started breaking windows, and in the police response, a 16-year-old was fatally shot and 62 were injured. From the April 2 edition (above) of The Washington Afro-American:
Dr. King, admitting a mistake had been made when he joined the march without having done some intelligence work or brought in staffers to control the violent element declared:
"Riots are here. Riots are part of the ugly atmosphere of our society now."
"What So Proudly We Hailed—" by Reginald Manning in Arizona Republic, April, 1968
After King's assassination, riots and looting broke out in several cities across the nation at once, including Washington D.C; Columbia, South Carolina; Baltimore, Maryland; Macon, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Chicago, Illinois. That Sunday, a white gunman named Norris Edwards burst into a black church in Indianapolis and began firing at parishioners, killing three. Many cities imposed curfews on their citizens, including my hometown. (I was 8 years old at the time, old enough to imagine from media coverage that marauding hordes might come charging over the hill and down my dead end suburban street any minute.)
"Note to Congress" by Jack Knox in Nashville Banner, April 6, 1968
While some cartoonists' first response after King's assassination was to decry the riots, a more hopeful theme was repeated among others wishing to focus more on Dr. King's legacy.
"His Truth Goes Marching On—" by Lou Grant in Los Angeles Times, April, 1968

"...But His Truth Is Marching On..." by Hugh Haynie in Louisville Courier-Journal, April, 1968
Since my source for Hugh Haynie's cartoon is a little out of focus, I'll note that the printing on the man's sleeve identifies him as "Dr. King."
"His Spirit Marches On" by Cy Hungerford in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 6, 1968
From the vantage point of 50 years later, it seems curious that these three white cartoonists would all reference the same poem written by a white woman, yet I could find only two cartoons which quoted Dr. King himself. (Mike Peterson's post includes two others that refer to the "I Have a Dream" speech; but although we have posted a few cartoons in common, I am not copying cartoons from his post.)
"NOW!" by Pat Oliphant in Denver Post, April, 1968
As tragic as Dr. King's assassination and the ensuing urban violence were, they succeeded in bringing a sense of urgency to the need for progress in racial justice in the United States that some had refused to acknowledge.
"The Time Has Come to Face the Challenge" by Dan Dowling in Kansas City Star, April, 1968
On April 5, President Johnson sent Congress a strongly worded letter (cited in the Jack Knox cartoon above) demanding passage of the Fair Housing Act. Also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1968, it passed on April 10 with provisions making it a federal crime to interfere with anyone's civil rights. Its main aim was to add federal enforcement provisions to the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and to explicitly prohibit discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, national origin, or religion.
"More Lasting than Flowers" by Bill Crawford in Newark News, April, 1968