Thursday, May 30, 2019

Q Toon: June 28, 1969

This June marks the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, generally regarded as one of the key turning points in the gay liberation movement (as it was called before we became an unpronounceable acronym).

For anyone needing to catch up, New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, at 1:20 a.m. on June 28, 1969. Typically, these raids netted a dozen or so humiliated gays, lesbians, transsexuals or transvestites ("transgender" not yet being in common parlance) hoping against hope to keep their names and photos out of the newspaper.

But whether it was the weather, or the death of Judy Garland, or Canada having just decriminalized homosexuality, or Freddy Mercury in retrograde, the customers of the Stonewall decided not to go quietly. They refused to cooperate with the police, who then announced that they would arrest everyone in the bar. A crowd gathered as the police waited for additional paddy wagons to arrive; police escalated their use of force, and the riot began. And lasted through the weekend, flaring up anew on Wednesday in response to insulting reportage in The Village Voice.

Today's cartoon would have taken place in a relatively quiet moment.

So, then, how far have we come in the half century thence?

LGBTQ actors are much freer to be out and open about their sexuality than their counterparts fifty years ago; and films about us do not consistently portray us as doomed social misfits who die unloved and unmourned by the final reel.

Marriage equality was hardly on anybody's radar in 1969. Keeping one's job and staying out of jail were more pressing issues. The burden is now on the religious right as they fight to restore for themselves the privilege of being able to discriminate against us in employment, housing, and health and public services.

With the war in Vietnam becoming increasingly unpopular, military service wasn't a hot issue for the gay liberation movement, either. But there were nevertheless those at the time whose career calling was in the military; and in spite of failed half-measures such as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," sexual orientation is no longer an automatic bar to military service and advancement. Whether the Corrupt Trump Administration's current regressive policies prove to be a temporary setback or not remains to be seen.

I'd still rate Pete Buttigieg as a long shot to be inaugurated president on January 20, 2020, but taking his candidacy seriously at all would have been inconceivable in 1969. Still, our prescient perp overlooks the fact that other countries have or have had openly LGBTQ heads of state in the 21st Century. And none of them have been consumed by fire or brimstone.

The tendency toward finding community in urban centers has concentrated our political power there and in the one political party left with concern for urban issues. It has, unfortunately, contributed to the acreage advantage the other political party has to diminish our influence on a state and national scale by the gerrymander, and to disregard the Log Cabineers, GOProudsters, and Caitlyn Jenners along its fringe.

Flexing its legislative, financial and current executive muscle, that political party has spent the past fifty years stacking the courts with reactionary activists, so this is no time to trust that progress made will be progress kept.

Monday, May 27, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
—Wilfred Owen

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Silence of the Sams

I had planned to save these cartoons for this summer, but after Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson's stunning performance in front of Congress this week, now seems to be a good time for Scamback Saturday to remember one of his predecessors at the department.

Samuel Pierce was Secretary of HUD from 1981 to 1989.  Pierce had the distinction of being the only African-American in Ronald Reagan's cabinet, and the only cabinet official to serve in the same post for all eight years of Reagan's presidency.

Several HUD Secretaries have been former mayors or otherwise professionally involved in urban renewal. But like Ben Carson, Pierce had no such experience before Reagan named him to the job. Also like Ben Carson, Pierce was African-American, the Republican euphemism for which is "urban," an area the increasingly exurban and rural Republican Party could hardly care less about. If a Republican president has to have one Black person in the cabinet just for appearances sake, he might as well be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, even if his field of expertise is brain surgery and he's totally unfamiliar with real estate jargon.

Unlike Carson, however, Sam Pierce at least had ample subcabinet-level experience, starting out in Eisenhower's Department of Labor and later as general counsel to Nixon's Treasury Department. But the tenure of "Silent Sam" at HUD was so low-key that when he and the president who appointed him attended a U.S. Conference of Mayors luncheon, Reagan thought Pierce was one of the mayors.

I'm not kidding.
Chuck Stone, a black editor at the Philadelphia Daily News and longtime acquaintance of Pierce, says the Secretary “has the three B’s Republicans like—brilliance, blackness and blandness. Republicans don’t like audacious blacks.”
It was only after Pierce was gone that an investigation by the U.S. Office of the Independent Counsel uncovered mismanagement and political favoritism in HUD dating from his first days on the job.

UW-Milwaukee Post, July 25, 1989
Despite a pledge during his Senate confirmation hearings to ''sever'' his ties to his former New York law firm, Samuel R. Pierce Jr. regularly did personal favors for his former colleagues and interceded with subordinates in the Department of Housing and Urban Development on their behalf, documents from his office files show.
While there is no indication that the former Secretary broke any law barring conflicts of interest or directed subordinates to act improperly, Representative Tom Lantos, Democrat of California, said the documents raised ''additional questions about Secretary Pierce's management at H.U.D.''  ...
Ethics lawyers at H.U.D. said Mr. Pierce's agreement to sever ties with the firm did not bar him from all dealings with it. And lawyers at the Office of Government Ethics said that to prove a criminal violation against an official like Mr. Pierce, a prosecutor would have to demonstrate that he personally and substantially took part in a matter affecting his former firm. 
Investigators also uncovered several cases in which outside agents managing the foreclosure of properties on behalf of HUD, instead of subtracting their management fees and turning the rest of the proceeds over to HUD, were pocketing the entire proceeds and never filing the paperwork. Contracts went to politically connected landlords and developers, funneling money to the campaigns of a number of politicians.
Drawn for an edition of the Post that wasn't published
As the scandals came to light, Pierce claimed that HUD was too big for him to follow individual programs, and he threw his chief aide, Deborah Gore Dean under the bus. She and others on Pierce's staff would be convicted on various felony charges, but Pierce himself was never charged with any criminal activity.
UW-Parkside Ranger, September 28, 1989
Now, I have to caution that there was never any connection between the shenanigans at HUD and the Iran-Contra scandal.

But one familiar name from the Corrupt Trump Administration pops up in those 30-year-old reports.
As one particular scam involving conversion of some abandoned World War II era internment facilities for Japanese-Americans into apartment dwellings was reported in Newsweek in 1989:
The moving force in the project was Paul Manafort, a Reagan campaign consultant in 1980 who later diversified into lobbying and power brokering. When a friend told him the ancient housing project was for sale, Manafort sounded out Deborah Gore Dean, Pierce's chief aide, and got informal encouragement that he could get a rehabilitation contract. Through another crony, he persuaded New Jersey officials to apply for a grant; with two associates, he formed CFM Development Corp. and bought the project for $4.4 million. HUD promptly approved the project, providing $5 million in construction funds and guaranteeing rent subsidies totaling $31.1 million over 15 years. CFM hired Manafort's firm, Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly [okay, more than one familiar name there!] to keep the wheels greased at HUD, paying it a consultant's fee of $326,000. The rent subsidies guaranteed an operating profit, but the program offered a second bonanza in the form of $11 million worth of tax credits. ...
Mayor Bruce Peterson of Upper Deerfield Township, N.J., called the project "a horrible waste of the taxpayers' money." It was imposed on the community as a fait accompli, he testified; the housing wasn't needed, the buildings were too old and shabby, the work being done was shoddy and the subsidized rents were way above local standards.
These four cartoons about Samuel Pierce are the most I've ever drawn about any Secretary of HUD. The only other HUD Secretary I've ever cartooned was Jack Kemp, who comes in second place, and only because he's in that second cartoon about Pierce. Which never got published until now, so it shouldn't even count.
UW-Parkside Ranger, November 2, 1989
On the other hand, Kemp did appear in at least one of my cartoons when he was Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1996. For that matter, I've drawn Carson in at least three cartoons, but as a 2016 presidential candidate.

Since the ratio of verbiage to cartoons in this post is weighted too heavily to the former, here's one of those Carson cartoons.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Q Toon: For Better And Formosa

Acceding to a two-year deadline set by their courts, Taiwan's parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage last week by a vote of 66 to 27. The bill won out over two rival bills that would have granted only partial partnership rights; and while co-adoption rights and international couples were excluded from the approved legislation, it's far and away more progressive than anything anywhere else in Asia.

Homosexuality is still a capital offense in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Brunei, Pakistan, Qatar and Yemen, and is against the law in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan and Bangladesh. If homosexuality in Russia is legal de jure, gay-bashing, lynching and murder are apparently legal de facto. Extermination of homosexuals continues in Chechnya. Homosexuality is also illegal in Maldives, Bhutan, Malaysia, Myanmar, and some provinces of Indonesia. Male homosexuality is illegal but female homosexuality is not in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Singapore.

The only countries in Islam where homosexuality is legal are Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Bahrain. The Supreme Court of India decriminalized consensual homosexual acts only last year.

If there is a second-place horse on the horizon, it is likely to be Thailand, where the legislature is considering a marriage equality bill, or Japan, where the matter is in the courts. Israel is unlikely to move in that direction as long as the Netanyahu government depends upon hardline right-wing religious parties to keep its coalition in power.

Taiwan's legislature acted one week before a court-imposed deadline set two years ago; President Tsai Ing-wen supports marriage equality and her signature on the bill is likely. Had the government failed to enact marriage equality, a 2017 court ruling would have made it the law of the island anyway.

Hong Kong granted same-sex spousal visas for international couples last year, which isn't quite the same thing as marriage equality. The mainland Chinese government controls Hong Kong and claims sovereignty over Taiwan; the communist party organ People's Daily tweeted that marriage equality had been approved by "local officials." Aside from that slight, its overall coverage of the move seems to have been surprisingly favorable.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

EnviroStewardship: Just One Word. Polyethyleneterephalates

It's that time of the month again! Here's the column my dad, John Berge, writes on environmental stewardship for his church's monthly newsletter.

Plastics have been much in the news over recent years, generally in a negative way. Huge areas of the oceans are covered with waste plastics. Canada rightfully complains of the plastic trash washed down from the Great Lakes through “their” St. Lawrence River. New plastic bottles are being made from recycled plastics picked up on the resort beaches of Mexico. Micro-plastic beads from cosmetic products are washed into the lakes and eaten by fish which in turn are eaten by us, where they may or may not get past the lining of our intestines.

But first some definitions: Plastic, as an adjective, describes a material that can be molded or shaped into a desired form. Plastics, as a noun, refers to synthetic (man-made) polymers (long chains of the same small monomers, or groups of atoms) such as polyethylene, polyethyleneterephalate, polystyrene, or polyvinyl chloride. These are molded or extruded to form such varied products as automobile parts, toothbrush handles, vanes on wind turbines, communion cups, fibers, films and the ubiquitous, obnoxious, single-use bottles and bags polluting the environment.

Before I go any further, I must confess to being one of those people who helped push plastics onto the scene. Years ago, I worked in a huge nylon plant and was one of the first dozen technical people on the development of Dacron® (that polysyllabic plastic above); you may be wearing one or the other of these synthetic “plastic” fibers or walking on them in your home or office. I also did some research on the fibers that are used in bullet-proof vests protecting our police and armed forces. My doctoral research was on the dynamic mechanical properties of long side-chain methacrylate polymers (non-commercialized plastics). I did turn down a job offer to do research on the manufacture of plastic bags, but that was for other reasons.

For convenience and sanitation, our church lines its waste baskets and bins with single-use plastic bags, including the bin for the recycling of the single-use polystyrene communion cups. These bags do get a second usage in our kitchen waste basket. I have recently picked up some “Compostable Kitchen Bags” for the recycling bin, but they only claim “100% certified compostable … in municipal or commercial compost facilities.” I have faith that they will also compost eventually in the landfill after our two usages.

I also have faith that, after this and earlier discussions in these essays, our congregation and every member will try their best to differentiate in their purchase, use and disposal practices between single-use plastic items and those products which in the long run are beneficial because of their light weight, long-term stability and other properties.

Reusable items such as tote bags for groceries and refillable water or coffee containers are much preferable to single-use items, even if you are careful to recycle the latter. Lighter weight plastics allow for larger wind turbine blades and thus can provide more renewable energy; they also yield lighter, more fuel-efficient automobiles. Even foamed plastics around our homes can improve insulation and reduce energy needs. Replacing lead pipes with PVC can protect our children and improve our health.

Good environmental stewardship requires some forethought before plastic items are purchased, disposed or recycled.

Monday, May 20, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

Here's one of the preliminary sketches for this week's cartoon.

By the way, I guess we were just supposed to forget about that horse Arya found last week.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Further Flights of Fancy

"You May Live to See It" by Bill Hanny in St. Joseph (MO) News-Press, May 29, 1919
Last week, Seaplaneback Saturday celebrated the centennial of the first successful manned transoceanic flight, completed by U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Albert C. Read in fits and starts over the course of three weeks in May, 1919.
"My Boy Read—He Did It" by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, June, 1919
As I indicated at the close of the post, however, Lt. Commander Read's accomplishment was soon overshadowed by the British team of Captain John Alcock and Lt. Col. Arthur Whitten Brown, who completed the journey in one hop.
But their trip was no less harrowing. Alcock and Brown took off in their modified Vickers-Vimy biplane from Lester's Field near St. John's, Newfoundland, on the afternoon of Saturday, June 14 (they had wanted to start on Friday the thirteenth, but were delayed trying to find a smoother runway than the uneven one at Lester's) in cloudy conditions. They barely cleared the trees at the end of the runway, but once over the Atlantic they climbed to 1,300 feet.
"A Little Uncertain, But We're On Our Way" by Edward "Tige" Reynolds in Portland Oregonian, June, 1919
About three hours into the trip, they encountered fog and descended to only 300 feet. After an hour without being able to see where they were going, Alcock and Brown tried to ascend above the fog bank while the sun might still show what direction they were headed, but they found only a higher bank of clouds.
"The Rubberneck Conveyance of the Future" by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, June, 1919
From Alcock's account shortly after landing:
"We had a terrible journey. The wonder is we are here at all. We scarcely saw the sun or moon or stars. For hours we saw none of them. ... For four hours, our machine was covered in a sheet of ice caused by frozen sleet. At another time, the fog was so dense that my speed indicator did no work and for a few minutes it was very alarming.
"We looped the loop, I do believe, and did a very steep spiral. We did some very comic stunts, for I have had no sense of horizon."
"Society Item, June 3, 1990..." by Elmer A. Bushnell for Central Press Association, June 3, 1919
Unlike Albert Read's team, Alcock and Brown did not have a fleet of ships shining lights to point their way. With their navigational guides malfunctioning and their radio dead three hours into the flight, they had no way of knowing how far off course they might be. The batteries in their heated leather flight jackets ran out of juice, but they were at risk of burning as well as freezing. Not included in the initial newspaper reports was that at one point, an exhaust pipe from their starboard engine split and began spewing flames into the slip-stream and spitting white-hot globules of molten metal at the controls.
"Looking Forward" by William Donahey in Cleveland Plain Dealer, June, 1919
Around 3:00 a.m., they ran into more rain, hail and snow, and their airspeed indicator jammed; they went into that deep spiral dive at this point. Press reports quoted Alcock as saying, "I did not know once whether we were upside-down or not. Once, we ascended hurriedly when we saw the green Atlantic only 30 feet below." The Associated Press claimed that the plane came as low as ten feet above the ocean; Alcock said they could taste the sea foam. With ice forming on the wings and snow filling their cockpit, Brown had to venture out onto the wings to chip away at ice clogging the carburetor air intake — four times.

On the positive side, they had the wind at their back the whole journey; it would be nine more years before anyone succeeded in flying across the Atlantic from east to west.
"I'd Like to See Them Take Those Liberties with Me" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Dispatch, June/July, 1919
At last, they made it through the storm and day broke. The pilots took their plane to a lower altitude so that the snow and ice could melt, even though that took them back into the clouds. Finally, some sixteen hours after take-off, they spotted land ahead and were able to determine that they had reached Clifden, Ireland, about 75 miles shy of their intended destination, Galway. The green space they chose for a landing site turned out to be a bog, however, and their plane plowed into the muck. But responders from a nearby radio tower were able to pull them out unhurt.
Detail from "Cartoons of the Day" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, June 17, 1919
The two were feted as heroes, received the Daily Mail's £10,000 ($50,000) prize from Secretary of State for Air Winston Churchill, and were knighted by King George. Alcock would perish in an airplane crash six months later; Brown served for a time during World War II in the Royal Air Force, but retired due to ill health.
"Arrival of the 6:15 Express from Europe" by Jay N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, June 1, 1919
So anyway, as you can see, the new possibilities of transatlantic flight gave editorial cartoonists a host of new gags to draw — occasionally affording them new ideas for commenting on the looming deadline for Prohibition (above) or the 2020 presidential race (below).
"All Ready for the Big Hop" by John H. Cassel in New York World, May 20, 1919 
In conclusion, since I really ought to include at least one British cartoon in this post:
"Can You?" by G. Browning (?) in The World, London, ca. June, 1919

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Q Toon: Name That Toon

So here's the cartoon I sent to Q Syndicate about Donald Joffrey Trump dismissing Pete Buttigieg as Mad Magazine cover boy "Alfred E. Neuman" during an interview with Politico last week.

In case you were somehow distracted by the Corrupt Trump Administration's trade war with China, its teetering on the verge of actual war with Iran, its determination to provoke a constitutional crisis with Congress, or Republican legislatures decreeing women's uteruses to be government property, here's what you missed. When asked for his opinion of Buttigieg, Trump told Politico that "Alfred E. Neuman cannot become president of the United States," and Mayor Pete responded
"I’ll be honest. I had to Google that. I guess it’s just a generational thing. I didn’t get the reference. It's kind of funny, I guess. But he’s also the president of the United States and I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal."
I don't understand how anyone can make through high school without learning who Alfred E. Neuman is, but, as Stephen Colbert explained to The Kids These Days, "If you're too young to know the reference, magazines were these thick stacks of paper with pictures and words on 'em."

So if Mr. Buttigieg doesn't recognize octogenarian Alfred E. Neuman, perhaps thirty-something Nelson Muntz is more in tune with his generation.

Personally, I found it easier to draw a convincing Muntz-Trump hybrid than a Neuman-Buttigieg one.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Toon: The Eyes Have It

I considered two possible cartoons for syndication this week, and this one is the one I didn't go with.

I like it better, but I'm worried that only comic enthusiasts will get it. But if you have to ask...

Monday, May 13, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

Well, I guess Selina Meyer getting herself elected Queen of Westeros was kind of a surprise, wasn't it?

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Flights of Fancy and Fleeting Fame

Okay, so the Great War is over, and all those guys your army and navy trained to be airplane pilots are returning home. Sopwithback Saturday hearkens once again to 1919 and the question of how are you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've looked at clouds from both sides now?
Detail from "The Rectangle" by Frank O. King in Chicago Tribune, January 26, 1919

Back in 1913, the London Daily Mail offered a reward of £10,000 to the first person or team to complete a transatlantic flight from the U.S. or Canada to the British Isles. The contest was suspended for the duration of the Great War; but with the cessation of hostilities, American and British aviators resumed the contest, capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of cartoonists on both sides of the pond.
"A Fair Sky and May the Best Bird Win" by Homer Stinson in Dayton Daily News, May, 1919
Transatlantic travel being relatively routine these days, it's worth pointing out the challenges faced by those aviation pioneers in their rickety flying machines and their open-air cockpits. Consider this description from Cartoons Magazine of
"...the hazards of travel in a machine that for weeks must wait at its hangar for fair weather, and then when it sets out travel so fast that it overtakes the last spell of bad weather on its way eastward. ... [I]t is not to be wondered at that the less daring souls, who make out their wills before attempting a passage by forty-thousand ton steamers should not book a passage by Sopwith until the pilot can carry on his machine an automatic storm control." 
"Over the Top" by John Cassel in New York Evening World, May 19, 1919
John Cassel's cartoon accurately describes the preferred route for transatlantic flights in the northern hemisphere, but it's not the route chosen by the first American team to mount a successful attempt. A team led by U.S. Navy fliers Commander John H. Towers, Commander Patrick Bellinger, and Lt. Commander Albert C. Read, Sr., chose a route hopscotching from New York to Newfoundland, and thence across the Atlantic with a stop in the Azores.
The team took off from Long Island on May 8, 1919 in three NC Curtiss "flying boats." At Trepassey, they were met by the U.S.S. Aroostook, sent there ahead of time to refuel and relubricate the three planes for the longest leg of the journey.
"This Quite Gets Over Me" by Wood in Manchester Chronicle, England, May, 1919
The 15-hour flight from Newfoundland to the Azores would require flying overnight, so 22 navy ships were stationed along the route, shining searchlights into the sky to mark the flight path. Two of the planes, the NC-1 and NC-3, were forced to ditch at sea when the planes encountered a fog bank. Happily, all aboard were rescued, and while the NC-1 unfortunately sank, the NC-3 eventually rode the waves to port.
"First Sitting of the Big Four to Discuss the Atlantic Flight" by Strum in London Daily Express, May, 1919
That left only Read's NC-4 to complete the journey (the NC-2 having been cannibalized for parts at the outset of the trip). After losing over a week due to mechanical problems, the NC-4 took off for Lisbon on May 27.
"Th' Nerve of 'Em" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, May 20, 1919
Read's plane made the flight from São Miguel Island to Lisbon in under ten hours, thus becoming the first plane to complete a transoceanic flight. Great fanfare greeted Read when his plane finally landed in Plymouth, England on May 31.
"Mercury!" by John H. Cassel in New York Evening World, May 28, 1919
But he didn't win the £10,000 prize.

Terms of the Daily Mail contest stipulated that the award would be given to "the aviator who shall first cross the Atlantic in an aeroplane in flight from any point in the United States, Canada, or Newfoundland to any point in Great Britain or Ireland, in 72 consecutive hours." Read's total actual flight time from Trespassey to Plymouth was 26 hours, 46 minutes, but spread out over eleven days.

Instead, the prize was won by the British team of Capt. John Alcock and Lt. Col. Arthur Whitten Brown, who completed a non-stop flight from Newfoundland to Ireland in a Vickers Vimy biplane in 16 hours, 27 minutes on June 15-16.
"The Dawn of a New Era" by Grover Page in Louisville Courier-Journal, May, 1919
But I suppose that's a whole 'nother story.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Q Toon: The Beauty of the System

Last week, the Corrupt Trump Administration issued a new rule granting health care workers the right to do no weal if they can claim that patient care would impinge on their religious sensibilities.

Lambda Legal warns that, “The proposed rule also shields health care providers even if they refuse to give a referral after denying care, regardless of the consequences to the patient, and in violation of medical and ethical requirements and standards of care.”

The move is part of the right-wing Republican obsession to deny women control of their own bodies and to promote discrimination against LGBTQ people — transgender persons in particular. Except, of course, that it's not about us; it's about the poor, persecuted Christian majority.
Roger Severino, the director of HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, defended the new rule, saying it “does not create new substantive rights,” rather it “gives life and enforcement tools to existing federal conscience protections that have been on the books for decades.”
“We have not seen the hypotheticals that some have used to criticize the rule actually develop in real life,” he told NBC News in an email. “The beauty of the American system is that there are options for everyone. This rule promotes that principle by ensuring greater diversity in health care so that patients can continue to find doctors who match their values, and for example, OBGYNs are not excluded from the practice of medicine simply because they stand on the side of defending unborn human life.”
The rule protects not only doctors and nurses, but also pharmacists, insurance providers, and, yes, EMTs. Even if your doctor has no religious objection to prescribing your hormonal or immunotheraputic drugs, you may have to travel across the state to find a pharmacist willing to fill out your prescription.

And it's not as if insurance companies have any shortage of excuses for denying coverage already.

Pray that your premiums haven't been going to fund a company bought out by a cult of antivaxxer voodoo Scientologists.

Monday, May 6, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

And on Jeopardy, James Holzhauer gets disqualified for impeding the path of the other contestants.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Settling Scores

Last Saturday's post started (sort of) with Poland, so let's begin there today.
"Inconsiderate" by Gilbert Wilkinson (?) in The World, London, ca. April, 1919
I'm not absolutely positive of the identity of the cartoonist of "Inconsiderate," but I can make out enough of his signature to consider Gilbert Wilkinson its likely author.
"Die Schlächtergilde von Paris" by uncredited cartoonist in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, April 13, 1919
Our topic this Spoilsback Saturday is the settling of scores in the Paris peace negotiations at the end of World War I. In the above parody of Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, the cartoonist predicts an unpleasant outcome for the surgeons planning to slice off Danzig (present-day Gdansk, Poland) and the Saar region (now in France) from the German patient.

To the extent that Europe would fall back into World War II over German attempts to reclaim those territories, I suppose the cartoonist was not terribly far off the mark.
"Just a Guess at the Terms for Turkey" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, May 5, 1919
The victors at the Paris peace negotiations also considered how to carve up the Ottoman Empire, and their solutions have given rise to a whole century of wars, refugees and terrorist attacks since then.
"Anything He Would Do Is an Improvement" by William Hanny in St. Joseph (MO) News-Press, April 23, 1919
Bill Sykes and William Hanny here draw a rare pair of cartoons that do not hinge on depicting Turkey or its leader as a meliagris gallopavo.

Of course, Hanny had used that pun less than a week before.
"Vor der Proklamierund des Völkerbundes" by Werner Hahmann in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, April 26, 1919
When it came to carving up the Austro-Hungarian Empire, members of the Entente had competing claims.

"More!" by John Cassel in New York World, April 20, 1919
Both Italy and the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes laid claim to Fiume (the present-day port city of Rijeka, Croatia) at the north end of Kvarner Gulf. As shown in John Cassel's cartoon, the allies awarded the former Austrian territories of Trentino and Trieste to Italy, but Italian irredentists claimed Fiume and environs by virtue of the fact that Italians made up nearly half of its residents. Not quite a third of the remainder were Croatian; Italians made up a majority of urban dwellers while Croats were the majority of rural folk.
"Mi sento Come se Fossi di Nuovo sul Piave" by "Luccio" in Il 420, Firenze, Italy, ca. April, 1919
Students of history and followers of this blog will recall that the Piave is the river where the Italian army was finally able to push back against Austrian and German advances into their country.

I have no explanation of why the Yugo-slav in this Italian cartoon has a supersized tampon dangling from his teeth.
"Get Your Cart Out from the Middle of the Street" by Leo Thiele in Sioux City Tribune, ca. April, 1919
Fiume/Rijeka is a significant seaport for Croatia, situated as it is at a deep, sheltered harbor near the narrowest stretch of the Dinaric Alps. Roads and railways from inland Croatia naturally converge there. But being so far removed from the boot of Italy, its importance to Italy was more a matter of prestige than commerce.
"I Due 'Wilson' alla Conferenza de la Pace" by Gabriele "Rata Langa" Galantara in L'Asino, Rome, May 11, 1919
The Italian government viewed President Woodrow Wilson's failure to side with Italy on the Fiume Question as a betrayal of his idealistic lectures about self-determination of peoples. Their cartoonists quickly switched from depicting him as Santo Woodrow to drawing him as a duplicitous moralizer. Above, "The Two 'Wilsons' at the Peace Conference" brandish an umbrella labeled "Direction toward self-determination" and a whip labeled "Interests of Capitalism."
"Woodrow in der Klamme" by Arthur Johnson in Kladderadatch, Berlin, May 11, 1919
German cartoonists were happy to join in ridiculing the American president. Arthur Johnson's Italian, on the left, points to the British promises of territory that had prompted Italy to abrogate its treaty with Germany and to declare on the side of the Entente. His Serbo-Croatian, on the right, points to similar British promises. I would note that Serbia was in the war at the outset, relying on Russian promises of support rather than any promises from the British who weren't even in the war yet.
"It Happens in the Best Regulated Families" by Jay "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, May 9, 1919
Wilson's proposed compromise — which was the short-lived solution — was to establish Fiume/Rijeka as a free city, perhaps even the home of his League of Nations. Italy's Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando stormed out of the peace negotiations, protesting that he was personally insulted by the allies' failure to uphold British promises. "Ding" Darling correctly predicted that Italy would eventually return to the table.
"Their Vision" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, May 2, 1919

Peace negotiations faced a similar dilemma of conflicting promises in the Far East. Japan and China had both declared war against Germany, betting on the Entente to be the eventual and more magnanimous victors. Japanese forces ousted Germany from the Kiautschou Bay Leased Territory on China's Shandong peninsula early in the war. China wanted the territory back, but was repeatedly pressured to accept Japanese sovereignty there. Wilson sided with the Chinese, but Britain and France had given their assurances to Japan, and the Paris Treaty gave Shandong to Japan.
"The Penalty of Pacifism" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, May 6, 1919
Student-led protests against foreign imperialism and the Beijing government's fecklessness broke out in China on May 4 and spread across the country. The university students demanded the resignation of three government officials they blamed for selling out the country; they even burned down one of the officials' houses and assaulted his hapless servants.
"Mrs. Japan and Her Infant at the Peace Table" by R.O. Evans in Baltimore American, March, 1919
After some protesters were beaten and thrown in jail, a general strike in support of the students succeeded in gaining their release. China refused to sign the Versailles treaty, eventually negotiating a separate peace with Germany in 1921 and regaining possession of Shandong province a year later. But the May Fourth movement would lead to the development of the Chinese Communist Party. And another protest one month and seventy years later.
"You Can't Blame Japan for Feeling It an Insult" by Jay "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, March 23, 1919
I was going to end this post on the topic of China (just like last Saturday's episode), but I ought to bring up one more issue that Japan brought to the negotiating table. Japan wanted the League of Nations charter to require that member countries grant "equal and just treatment" to all aliens in their borders who are nationals of other member states.

The Japanese proposal did not make it into the League charter, thanks to opposition from the Europeans and the American Congress, but it did inspire an unusually sympathetic response for the time from "Ding" Darling.