Saturday, August 31, 2019

The War on Drugs

For Sensimillaback Saturday today, I've rummaged through my cartoons from thirty years ago on the topic of the War on Drugs.
in the Racine Journal Times, September 24, 1989
The Woodstock generation had joined the over-30 establishment by this point, settling down, holding down steady jobs, buying "entertainment centers," and becoming parents. My own classmates were following quickly on the heels of those Children of the Sixties, laughing along with their risqué drug references on Saturday Night Live and Cheech and Chong albums.

Earlier this month, I posted this cartoon from September, 1989, when the Journal Times solicited reader feedback on the question of legalizing or decriminalizing drug use.
in the Racine Journal Times, September 3, 1989
Not surprisingly, the great majority of responses were in the negative.

The George H.W. Bush administration was committed to combatting recreational drugs in the U.S. Brandishing on television a plastic bag of crack cocaine he claimed was found being sold right across the street from the White House, Bush proposed spending $7.9 billion on the war on narcotics. In addition to dramatically hiking military aid to Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, Bush called for measures to clamp down on the demand side domestically. Casual drug users would lose their driving privileges under the proposal, and/or be sentenced to military-style boot camps.

in UW-Milwaukee Post, September 26, 1989
Bush claimed that this new war could be paid for without raising taxes; he recommended diverting $751 million (less than 10% of that $7.9 million) from juvenile justice, housing, immigration and economic development. Democrats, for their part, voiced few if any objections to the War on Drugs. Senate Judiciary Chair Joe Biden (D-You May Remember Him) sniffed that the budget for the war ought to be four times what Bush wanted.
in UW-Milwaukee Post, September 14, 1989
I scanned this one in color as a cautionary tale: never store newsprint next to your original drawings. The original of a cartoon I drew for the UW-Parkside Ranger somehow got lost in the newspaper office (it being the beginning of a new school year, I imagine some first-time staffer might have thrown it away), so I had stuck the newspaper in which the cartoon had run into my files instead. Before long, the newsprint had stained the front of the Angelo Grumley cartoon and the back of another.

And speaking of drugs and cartoon originals I never got back, I'll close with another cartoon missing from my files. Since the new-school-year thing doesn't apply at the daily newspaper, perhaps it got mislaid, discarded, or purloined by someone at the Journal Times who foolishly thought a Berge Original would be worth Big Money someday. After this, I started sticking return address labels on the back of my cartoons for a while.
in the Racine Journal Times, September 6, 1989
(A different sort of drug abuse.)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Q Toon: This Just In

In a Washington Post op-ed back on August 15, Robert Kabel and Jill Homan, Board and Vice Chairs, respectively, of the Log Cabin Republicans, published their endorsement of Donald Berzilius Trump for reelection in 2020. According to Kabel and Homan, Trump is responsible for leading the GOP away from its open hostility to LGBTQ humans:
This is the party that Trump has helped make possible by moving past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook. And since taking office, President Trump has followed through on many of his commitments to the United States, including taking bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community.
Kabel and Homan apparently missed that plank in their party's 2016 platform renewing its support for a Federal Marriage Amendment and sending kids off to quack conversion therapy chambers.

Since the LCR went public with its allegiance to their fearless leader, the Corrupt Trump Administration has now filed LGBTQ-hostile amicus briefs in three Supreme Court cases. I drew last week about the Trumpsters' filing that transgender employees are not covered under equal opportunity law because congressmen in 1964 didn't have transgender persons in mind at the time.

Now, the Corrupt Trump Administration wants the Supreme Court to rule that federal law allows private companies to fire workers based on sexual orientation, filing an amicus brief in the cases of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and Altitude Express v. Zarda.
Remarkably, the department argued in its memorandum that the reason anti-gay discrimination is not unlawful under the ban on sex-based discrimination is because, in cases of adverse treatment by an employer, both gay men and gay women would be addressed equally poorly.
Upon experiencing discrimination from an employer, both men and women in same-sex relationships "would be similarly situated — and they would be treated the same," the department argued, negating a claim under Title VII's sex-based protections.
If the Trumpsters had not themselves put forward the argument that "both gay men and gay women would be addressed equally poorly," I probably would have made that the punch line of this week's cartoon. Damn, but it is hard to make jokes about the Corrupt Trump Administration's way of thinking when the CTA's way of thinking is a joke all by itself.

Meanwhile, a number of prominent Log Cabin members have quit the organization over Kabel and Homan's op-ed, most recently Executive Director Jerri Ann Henry. But according to those who were involved in the endorsement decision, it was approved by a majority of respondents from national chapters of the organization.

The endorsement cited Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell's public advocacy of pushing antigay foreign governments to come around on LGBTQ rights, but a more likely explanation for the endorsement is that Trump only listens to people who kiss his ring and his ass first.
[T]here’s a sense throughout the party that Trump expects loyalty and fealty before he’s earned it. President Trump does not feel that he should have to take action or stand on principle or express support for anyone else. He sees all that as being activity and behavior that should be directed toward him.
Maybe this buys Kabel or Homan a seat at the table when LGBTQ issues are discussed someday.

More likely, an appointment as Ambassador to Greenland.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Elizabeth Warren, Nevertheless

Here's the third in a series of caricatures of 2020 Presidential candidates.
Warren rose to national prominence as an advocate for consumer protection in the financial markets, the need for which was demonstrated by the crash of 2008, brought on by careless lending practices and over-easy credit. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created largely due to her advocacy

President Barack Obama nominated her to head the CFPB in 2010; but Republicans — whose idea of consumer protection is to force consumers to agree to a 4,000-word release form forfeiting all expectation of product safety, the right to a fair and public hearing should any harm befall them, and if they don't like it, a gag order for themselves and all future generations — blocked Warren's nomination and have rendered the CFPB toothless under Corrupt President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, she persisted, and in 2012, she unseated GOP Senator Ted Brown to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.

She may be the third oldest candidate in the Democratic presidential race (after Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders), but she is arguably the feistiest. If living up to her slogan of "Warren's Got a Plan for That" makes her come across as wonkish and schoolmarmy, it keeps her from being compared to Hilary Clinton, whose campaign relied too lightly on a plan for the next four years and too heavily on a sense that it was Her Turn.

But she can be compared to Clinton in the sense that Republicans already loathe her. Sticking up for consumers is anathema to the Chamber of Commerce set, and the very idea that government should be useful is heresy to Tea Partisans. Republican stooges are sure to draw her as a wannabe Injun, based on her having accepted some overstated family lore of Native American ancestry. Warren Derangement Syndrome will plague her campaign, and her administration should she win the presidency.

Well, it's not as if the right-wing media machine would be any less harsh to any other Democratic president, or Mitch McConnell wouldn't devote every millisecond of the next four years to making a one-term president of whatever Democrat takes office. It takes a World War to get our political parties to put aside partisanship even for a moment, and I for one will take partisanship over World War III any day.

But I hope Warren's got a plan for dealing with Republicans in Congress dead set against all of her other plans. Obama thought he could work with them, and he was wrong.

Monday, August 26, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

Didn't I just draw about R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week?

Well, yes.

But David Rowe has already drawn Bolsonaro fiddling while the Amazon burns (and threw in a couple genius touches I hadn't thought of), and I'm already tired of Greenland jokes. 

And I started drawing before Trump tried to sell the idea this morning that he wouldn't benefit financially by having the G7+Russian Empire confab at Mar-a-Lago next year.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

In the Good Old Summer Time

As vacation season winds to a close, Summerback Saturday takes a break from wars and riots and bombings to remark on a phenomenon I noticed while searching for century-old cartoons about all that heavy stuff. See if you can figure it out.
"Sketches from Life" by Harry C. Temple in Cleveland Plain Dealer, summer, 1919
One more cartoon should do it.
"When They Were Making Their Vacation Plans" by Wm. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, summer, 1919
They called the phenomenon "The Summer Widower." It appears to have been a common enough thing to be the premise of plenty of cartoons, just like cartoons of young lads splashing in swimming holes and of the same lads woefully toting bundles of books to school in September.
"The Summer Widowers' Party" by Sid Chapin in St. Louis Republic, summer, 1919
I'm not sure whether Chapin's cartoon ran in June or July; if it was the latter, Henry must still have had some prohibited beverage there in the basement, which would explain why he's prudently staying outside the frame.
"When the Family's Away" by R.M. Brinkerhoff in New York Evening Mail, summer, 1919
Perhaps Dad staying home while the rest of the family goes merrily away on vacation seems perfectly normal to you, but growing up, I recall only one time when Mom took us kids off without Dad. We took the train up to see her parents once; I think Dad went separately to a churchwide assembly or somesuch. (Not most people's idea of summer fun.) Otherwise, Dad drove us in the car whenever we went traveling.
"Tragedy of the Summer Widower" by Kenneth Chamberlain in Cincinnati Press, summer, 1919
If summer widowerhood were all poker games and loafing around, it would have been called summer bachelorhood. Having the house all to oneself had its downside, however, especially in those days when Papa couldn't figure out how to operate a dishcloth.
"Portrait of the Man Who Told His Wife..." by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, summer, 1919
To get serious for a moment, the reason these summer widowers weren't joining their families on vacation is that they probably wouldn't have had a job when they got back. Even if they did happen to belong to a union, unions were still working to win their members an eight-hour day and a 40-hour week; guaranteed vacation time wasn't even under consideration.

Not that it was unheard of. President Taft had proposed in 1910 that workers should have two to three months of vacation time every year, only to have the proposal go nowhere. Not until the Great Depression did employers start to see the value in letting their workers take some time off to recharge their batteries: first white-collar workers, then eventually blue-collar workers as well. Unions began to see vacation time as a valuable bargaining chip, and by 1943, 60% of American workers were entitled to paid vacation.

But unlike much of the rest of the world, the U.S. has no law guaranteeing paid vacation time for anyone but members of Congress and state legislatures.
"A Midsummer Day's Dream" by H.H. Perry in Portland Oregonian, August, 1919
P.S.: We mustn't forget the working women of 1919 ... although I doubt their husbands were off with the kids to play with the Esquimaux.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Q Toon: Lost in Trans Litigation

The Corrupt Trump Administration has decided to file an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court's consideration of R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case arises from the funeral homes' firing of Aimee Stephens, a Detroit funeral home director who informed her boss, Thomas Rost, that she planned to transition from male to female and to represent herself on the job as a woman.
In March 2018, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the funeral home had violated Title VII anti-discrimination laws ..., with the court ruling that “discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status is necessarily discrimination on the basis of sex" and therefore protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
However, in their court filing submitted Friday, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco and Department of Justice attorneys argued that the specific Civil Rights Act provision “does not bar discrimination because of transgender status,” meaning the Michigan funeral home was within its right to fire Stephens.
“In 1964, the ordinary public meaning of ‘sex’ was biological sex. It did not encompass transgender status,” the brief reads. “In the particular context of Title VII — legislation originally designed to eliminate employment discrimination against racial and other minorities — it was especially clear that the prohibition on discrimination because of ‘sex’ referred to unequal treatment of men and women in the workplace.”
To me, this seems to be a perfect example of how, all things being absolutely equal, a woman can still be treated differently from a man in total disregard of anti-discrimination employment law. This isn't even a case of two people equally qualified for a job; this time, they're both the exact same person.

It's easy to figure out the Corrupt Trump Administration's interest in the case. Trump has demonstrated such a need to attack transgender persons at every opportunity that I'm pretty sure he must have had a "Lola" moment in his past that didn't go well.

Besides, he's got to keep those Bible-thumpin' Evan Jellicles happy if he is to have any chance at reelection. The Log Cabin Republicans can be bought off with a couple ambassador posts and the transgender community isn't going to vote for him, anyway. Not even Caitlyn Jenner. But the Falwells, Jeffresses, Grahams, Bakkers and the like expect to get some value for the souls they sold to Donald "Two Corinthians" Trump.

And it costs him nothing to serve them transgender rights on a platter.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

EnviroStewardship: ELCA Speaks

My dad writes a monthly "Environmental Stewardship" column for the newsletter of his church and any other congregations that care to pick it up. I've been posting it here except on the rare occasion when his column is very specific to his own congregation. Here's Dad's column for September:

The recent Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), held in our northern suburb, Milwaukee, is a reminder that our congregation is a member of a much larger organization. The ELCA adopts policies and Social Statements by which we operate along with the Bible, the Creeds and Confessions of the Reformation. These statements and policies don’t always filter down to the people in the pews (or those who are ... less frequently there).

One of the first Social Statements adopted by the newly merged ELCA was entitled “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice.” This was adopted by more than a two-thirds majority back on August 28, 1993 by the Churchwide Assembly in Kansas City, Missouri. Obviously there have been many changes in how we care for or consider that creation in the ensuing years, and there have been other related resolutions passed in subsequent Assemblies, such as the Social Statement “Genetics, Faith and Responsibility” adopted at the 2011 Churchwide Assembly at which I was a delegate. A portion of this Statement reads:
“This vocation (innovative stewards of creation) within God’s creation means humans should not claim for themselves authority to make decisions based solely on human interests. They should consider both the integrity of the other participants in the community of life and their tasks before God. The human vocation as innovative stewards must be guided by the goal to respect and promote the earth’s abundance for the sake of the community of life.
“As one expression of human stewardship, this church affirms science and technology as appropriate means to order and imagine, nurture and invent.” (Emphasis added)
There also was adopted at the same Assembly a resolution strongly opposing any action of the church that would contribute to the extinction of any living species.

But to get back to the 1993 Social Statement: a paragraph in the Prologue states, “We of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are deeply concerned about the environment, locally and globally, as members of this church and as members of society. Even as we join the political, economics and scientific discussion, we know care for the earth is a profoundly spiritual matter.”

The Statement calls for Justice through Participation, Solidarity, Sufficiency, and Sustainability. Such statements might be considered weak on specifics, but that is what I have tried to add in these essays over the past ten years. In the Commitments section, the Statement states:
“As members of this church, we commit ourselves to personal life styles that contribute to the health of the environment.
“As congregations and other expressions of the Church, we will seek to incorporate the principles of sufficiency and sustainability in our life … We will undertake environmental audits and follow through with checkups to ensure our continued commitment.” 
Other commitments are a little longer, but well worth reading. To read the texts of these and other Social Statements of the ELCA, go to
John Berge

Monday, August 19, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

I suppose I could have, for the sake of accuracy, drawn Solicitor General Noel Francisco arguing this case before the court. That is his job, after all. But I don't imagine anyone but his mother would recognize him.

Besides, there is a more glaring error in another panel. Tune in again Thursday and see if you can spot it.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Your Teeming Masses

Since the Corrupt Trump Administration is now bowdlerizing Emma Lazarus and criminalizing legal immigrants, Stigmaback Saturday takes a wide-ranging look back at the United States's anti-immigrant hypocrisy.

I just bought myself the fifth volume of the comprehensive collection of daily and Sunday "Pogo" comic strips by Walt Kelly. The foreword by Jake Tapper includes this non-Pogo strip Kelly drew in response to the Displaced Persons Act of 1948.
Cartoon by Walt Kelly (in New York Star?), ca. June, 1948
Refugees admitted to the United States under this program were also aided by voluntary social service agencies, accredited by the Displaced Person Commission. Most of these agencies were created by religious and ethnic groups, who gave assurances that the admitted refugees would not become “public charges” and that they, the agencies, would help oversee the resettlement of the refugees.
In spite of being a nation of immigrants, the U.S. has a long history of citizens convinced that immigration got out of hand once grandpa and grandma had stepped off the boat.

I don't have a cartoonist, publication, or date for this cartoon (credit Culver Pictures), but it probably dates from the fin de siècle, and quite possibly Judge magazine.
"Where Is the Blame" by Grant Hamilton in Judge, ca. 1891
The cartoonists at Judge appear to have a long-standing animus against immigrants. The protagonist in Judge Art Editor Grant Hamilton's 1891 cartoon points at a horde of ne'er-do-wells labeled "German socialist," "Russian anarchist," "Polish vagabond," "Italian brigand," "English convict," and "Irish pauper,"  and tells Uncle Sam, "If Immigration was properly Restricted you would no longer be troubled with Anarchy, Socialism, the Mafia and such kindred evils!"
"The Unrestricted Dumping Ground" by Louis Dalrymple in Judge, ca. 1901 or '02
Another Judge cartoonist, Louis Dalrymple, portrays immigrants "direct from the slums of Europe" swarming ashore as so many rats. Italians figure rather prominently in this cartoon; so too does anarchist Leon Czolgosz, represented by the rat with the red bandanna and a dagger labeled "assassination" in its teeth. Looking through the clouds is the president he assassinated, William McKinley. (The real Czolgosz used a gun, but I guess the Socialist rat swiped it from him in this cartoon. To each according to his needs.)
"The High Tide of Immigration" by Louis Dalrymple in Judge, 1903
Dalrymple returned to a maritime metaphor in 1903, widening his paranoia to a more inclusive array of national stereotypes. Now, I'm not saying his anti-immigrant preoccupation was itself a manifestation of mental disease or defect, but as it happens, Dalrymple died of paralytic dementia just two years later, aged 44. Let that be a warning to Stephen Miller.
"Put Them Out and Keep Them Out" by Fred Morgan in Philadelphia Inquirer, June, 1919
Since this here blog has a thing about keeping track of what cartoonists were drawing 100 years ago, let's now skip ahead to 1919. A series of terrorist attacks by communist sympathizers began with several explosive devices mailed to prominent Americans, including Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and billionaire John D. Rockefeller, intended to be delivered on May Day. A few arrived early and others were not delivered due to insufficient postage. One delivered to a senator from Georgia did explode, injuring his wife; another delivered to the mayor of Seattle was a dud. The rest were intercepted before anyone was hurt.
"An Ounce of Mosquito Netting..." by J. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, June 6, 1919
If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Bombers delivered explosive devices themselves in eight U.S. cities shortly after midnight on June 2, including at the homes of Attorney General Palmer, of judges in New York City, Pittsburgh and Boston, of a Massachusetts congressman, and of the mayor of Cleveland. The Church of Our Lady of Victory in Philadelphia was another target. Two were killed in the New York bombing, one of them reportedly the bomber himself.
"Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary..." by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 8, 1919
Residual panic over bombings of military and port facilities by German sympathizers during the war easily shifted to red hysteria, especially since communism was associated not only with Russians, but with Germans — especially German-American academics and socialists in elected office.
"The Hook" by Bob Satterfield for Newspaper Enterprise Association, June, 1919
Many cartoonists were able to express their condemnation of the bombers without painting immigrants with the same brush, pen or charcoal. But for many Americans, it was taken for granted that immigrants were behind the violence and that sending them back to Europe was the obvious solution — a sentiment the Ku Klux Klan would be able to exploit in the decade to come.
"There Is Some Carpenter Work for Us to Do" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Dispatch, June, 1919
But let us step back another 50 years to close with a more hopeful "Can't we all just get along?" sentiment, from German-American immigrant Thomas Nast.
"Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving Dinner" by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly, November 20, 1869
Why, he even allowed the Irish guy a seat at the table!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Q Toon: Never Gonna Pump You Up

Stephen Ross, billionaire chairman of something called Related Companies, hosted a lavish fund raiser in the Hamptons last weekend for the reelection of his longtime buddy Donald Joffrey Trump as President of the United States.

Ordinarily, some billionaire throwing his lot in with the most plutocratic president this nation has ever produced wouldn't be worth rolling one's eyes over, but Related Companies happens to own a couple of fitness companies that have actively courted LGBTQ consumers, Equinox and SoulCycle. And those customers aren't happy with the prospect of their membership dues supporting the Corrupt Trump Administration and its anti-LGBTQ minions in any way.

All but five of the 91 Equinox and SoulCycle locations, moreover, are located in districts that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton last time around. You don't find a lot of trendy fitness gyms in Boondocks Junction, Nebraska.

So anyway, Equinox and SoulCycle gay-list customers are tearing up their $3,000+ membership cards and mounting a boycott.

Management of the companies issued statements last week distancing themselves from the man at the top.
Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle, issued a personal, more emphatic statement later as well.
“At SoulCycle, we wake up every day committed to our community, and creating a safe space where all are welcome,” Whelan’s statement reads. “We believe in diversity, inclusion and equality."
She went on to say that she doesn't endorse the Trump fundraiser and says her company has nothing to do with it.
Her statement reiterated that Ross is a "passive investor," but that framing only created more anger in many Equinox and SoulCycle members who pointed out that passive or not, Ross still makes a profit through his stake in the brands. 
As is typical of financial dealings these days, Ross's "passive investor" relationship status is better described as "complicated."
It is true that Related is a minority investor in Equinox, which in turn owns SoulCycle. (As Dan Primack of Axios has explained, Related used to own a majority of Equinox but has sold stakes to other investors over the years, diluting its own position.) It’s also true that Ross owns just 60 percent of Related. So a majority of Equinox’s and SoulCycle’s profits are not accruing to Ross personally.
But “minority” ownership does not equal “passive” ownership, and the siting decisions for Equinox gyms and SoulCycle studios are heavily tied up in Related’s broader development strategy. Related is the landlord for many Equinox and SoulCycle locations, especially in New York, because Related seeks to place them where they will enhance the value of Related’s residential and office developments. This includes Related’s Hudson Yards megadevelopment on the West Side of Manhattan, which contains a flagship Equinox gym and the first-ever Equinox-branded hotel in addition to about a thousand apartments, millions of square feet of office space, and, of course, a SoulCycle studio.
At some point, the top 1% of the top 1% are going to figure out how to sponsor their Republican fund raisers anonymously so as not to upset the rest of the top 10%. In the meantime, those of us in the lower 90% can pat ourselves on the back for having boycotted SoulCycle and Equinox before it was cool. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

An addendum to Saturday's post: I was interested to learn that the Chicago Defender had its own cartoonist in 1919. Leslie Rogers drew editorial cartoons until suffering a stroke in 1928 (this site mis-identifies Rogers as a woman; photographs clearly show otherwise), as well as a Barney Google-esque comic strip, "Bungleton Green." He resumed cartooning once he was able, but died in 1935.

Chester Commodore was the Defender's editorial cartoonist when I was growing up. (He had also taken over the drawing of Bungleton Green in the 1950s, but had put the strip to pasture in 1964.) When the Defender announced a few weeks ago that it was suspending its print edition, I went hunting through my folders of clippings to see whether I had any Commodore cartoons in my files, and found that the only ones were in a 1981 Lutheran Magazine cover story about him. I guess I must have read the Defender only in libraries, because I can't remember anywhere that had it on the newsstand.

Since 2000, Tim Jackson has been cartoonist with Chicago Defender, which continues to publish on-line only. At least, I think he's still drawing for them. If he is, you'd think they would make it easier to find his cartoons on their website.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Race Riots and High Prices

Non Sequiturback Saturday looks at race riots and the cost of living a century ago, and the editorial cartoonists' response to both. We'll start with the heavy stuff.
"Prohibition Hasn't Sobered the Headlines" by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, August 16, 1919
Chicago experienced a week of rioting after a Black youth, Eugene Williams, swimming off a de facto whites-only beach, was stoned by White youths until he drowned. Police refused to arrest the man witnesses identified as the instigator of the stoning, which sparked rioting by Black gangs and unmeasured retaliation by White ethnic gangs. 23 Blacks and 15 Whites were killed, over 500 injured. White arsonists burned 1,000 Black families out of their homes between July 27 and August 3, 1919, as lamented by Black cartoonist Leslie Rogers.
"Stamp Him Out" by Leslie Rogers in Chicago Defender, August, 1919
Racial tension and violence was by no means limited to Chicago. White veterans returned home to find their pre-war jobs filled by immigrants and by Blacks who had migrated north and west from southern states. 1919 would see racist resentment spur riots in Washington, DC; Knoxville, TN; Longview, TX; Phillips Co., AR; and Omaha, NE.
"Following the Advice of the 'Old Crowd' Negro," unsigned, in The Messenger, August, 1919 

"The 'New Crowd Negro' Making America Safe for Himself," unsigned, in The Messenger, August, 1919
Although my selection of editorial cartoons here clearly hold White hoodlums responsible for the rioting, there were editorial writers who insinuated that some Blacks had fallen under the influence of Bolshevik rabble-rousers.
"The Slave of Violence" by Sidney Joseph Greene in New York Evening Telegram, July 31, 1919
Moving on to much less serious matters, but one that held more cartoonists' attention: high prices of commodities have been a perennial concern since the days of the cowry shell. Attacks on shipping before the U.S. entered the war, and the need to supply our soldiers after that had necessitated shortages on various goods; Americans were unpleasantly surprised not to see a return to Taft-era prices. As a writer for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle quipped, "The roar against the high cost of necessities is accompanied by a howl about the necessities of high costs."
"Faith, Hope and Charity" by Sidney J. Greene in New York Evening Telegram, August 3, 1919
I have to note here that while Sidney Greene's cartoon may have run in the Milwaukee Sentinel, he drew it for the New York Evening Telegram; the Sentinel did not have a cartoonist of its own in 1919.

It was not standard practice, as it has been as long as I can remember, for cartoonists to include a credit line for their newspaper or syndicate in the body of their cartoons. One possible exception is William C. Morris, who included an encircled "A" in the cartoons he drew for the George Matthew Adams Service.
"Let the Sun Shine on It" by Kenneth Chamberlain in Cleveland Press, August, 1919
Concern over the high cost of living was so pervasive that headline writers routinely used "H.C.L." instead of spelling it out. The public, press and politicians focused their ire on profiteering by producers withholding foodstuffs, coal, and other commodities from the market. Grocers, for their part, replied that, thanks to the new practice of allowing customers to fill their shopping baskets rather than having the grocer fetch things for them, those consumers were choosing only the most attractive meats and vegetables and leaving the rest to rot on market shelves.
"Under the Old Family Umbrella" by Donald McKee for Associated Newspapers, August 7, 1919
Surplus food supplies held by the War Department also contributed to raising costs, so it was a relief to consumers when the government began selling these supplies to the public by parcel post in mid-August. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer proposed reinstating wartime controls over supplies and costs.
"Another Victory Day" by Elmer A. Bushnell for Central Press Assn., Cleveland, August, 1919
To give you an idea what consumers were complaining about, here are excerpts from letters to the Telegraph-Herald of Dubuque, Iowa:
"I recently paid forty-three cents a pound for pork loins and thirty-eight cents a pound for pork shoulder. While I do not know the exact costs of handling this meat, still I feel sure that these prices are excessive..." —An Old Subscriber
"This morning my wife bought a pound of boiled ham and do you know what she paid for it? Eighty cents! I was sure there was a mistake, but I found that the price ranged from sevety-five to eighty cents, and the very poorest cuts for twenty-five cents." —A Plain Citizen
"I see by the papers that the government has been requested to look into the high prices of food. If they would pay Dubuque a visit, they would find plenty to investigate right here. Yesterday our butcher charged me thirty-eight cents for fresh beef. But the bacon takes the prize. It cost me seventy cents a pound." —A Regular Reader
"Somebody has this town by the throat and is trying to choke it. Here's why. Today I paid a dollar a peck for potatoes. I also bought a hundred-pound sack of flour for seven dollars and thirty-five cents. Is that fair?" —One of the Consumers
"The Fickle Public" by Albert W. Steele in Denver Post, August, 1919
Since it may be hard to read this Denver Post cartoon, "The Fickle Public," the dancing man being booed on stage is "High Cost o' Livin'," and President Wilson's ribbon identifies him as "Stage Manager." I can't imagine that the fickle audience had cheered Mr. Livin' at any point during his performance, so I'm guessing — wildly, mind you — that Miss League of Nations is disappointed that the audience isn't booing her any more.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Q Toon: Blame Games

In the space of one week, Americans were shocked and horrified by mass shootings at a Gilroy, California Garlic Festival; an El Paso, Texas Walmart, and a Dayton, Ohio entertainment district.

The Gilroy shooter was interested in white supremacist ideology in the days leading up to his attack. The El Paso gunman left a screed online echoing Donald Trump's anti-immigrant bluster. The Dayton shooter compiled "hit lists" in high school and followed antifa posts on Twitter. What the three had in common was being hate-filled white males wielding rapid-fire semi-automatic rifles that no civilian has a legitimate use for in public.

By the way, I'm not forgetting the seven people killed in a drive-by shooting in Chicago in the same week. I keep seeing opponents of gun control citing this as something gun control advocates are overlooking, as if additional gun violence wouldn't buttress the argument in favor of stricter, stronger, and more stringently enforced gun control. As far as I'm concerned, this qualifies as a mass shooting, terrorism, whatever you want to call it; the only difference is the color of the gunman's skin.

I've singled out House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in this cartoon, but he's not the only Republican to try distracting attention from the U.S.'s gun problem by blaming violence in video games. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (who has graced this blog before) did the same, also faulting the lack of mandated prayer in schools. And an Ohio Republican, State Rep. Candice Keller, went so far as to blame "transgender, homosexual marriage and drag queen advocates, and Mike Huckabee (R-Fox News) said this kind of thing wouldn't happen if people were religious.

And, of course, whoever wrote Donald Trump's televised speech Monday morning also cited video games, mental illness, and a bunch of other stuff that weren't guns.

Now, while it would strain credulity to think that these gunmen have never played video games, cleverer cartoonists than I have pointed out that video games are hugely popular from Portugal to Japan to Australia to Argentina to Canada, yet nowhere else have they resulted in hundreds of mass shootings every year. Not even close.

The American Psychological Association has so far failed to list racism, bigotry, misogyny, antifa sympathies, or gang membership as mental illnesses, and right-wing media would howl in protest if they did. (Yes, even in the case of gang membership. Right-wing media wouldn't want gang-bangers getting to plead insanity in court.) None of this week's gunmen were ever diagnosed with any mental illness, and even if they had, one of Trump's first executive actions as president was to repeal a regulation preventing people with certain mental health issues from buying firearms.

Nor do I think marriage equality crossed the minds of any of this week's gunmen. The Pulse shooter was antigay to be sure, but blaming "transgender, homosexual marriage and drag queen advocates" for that 2016 massacre is akin to blaming wife-beating on her serving chicken when he wanted steak.

As for religious values, there is a great deal to be said for spirituality, and I'd like to see more people show up in the church, synagogue, mosque, prayer room, what have you, of their choice. But much evil has been done in God's name as well: ISIS, Boko Haram, the Klan, the Irish Republican Army, the Crusaders, Jehu, Hazael and Elisha all pray or prayed quite regularly.

Republicans can't keep arguing that gun laws don't work and proposing instead a whole bunch of other solutions that won't work. Requiring a clean bill of mental health to own a gun might cut down on some of the carnage, but you can't force people to pray and you can't outlaw "Call of Duty."

To paraphrase a certain firearms lobby, video games don't kill people. Guns kill people.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Dog Day After Toon

Siriusback Saturday rummages through my boxes of old cartoons and plucks out some random stuff from August, 1989.

Except that this first one's actually from June.
In Young at Heart, June, 1989
This trifle ran in the Vol. 3, No. 6 issue of Young At Heart, a local newsprint magazine targeted at the AARP demographic. I drew cartoons for them for a year or so. I don't have the original of the cartoon in my files, so perhaps the office closed before any Vol. 3, No. 7. (In those primitive days before the internet came along, I delivered and picked up my cartoons in person.)
I hadn't celebrated my 30th birthday yet (as hadn't most of the Young at Heart staff), so it was a stretch for me to figure out what people twice my age would consider funny. I guessed that they probably caught a fair amount of daytime television.

"Win, Lose, or Draw" was a TV game show hosted by Bert Convy, in which contestants were teamed with celebrity guests. One team member would have to illustrate some phrase on a flip chart while the others tried to guess what the phrase was.

In Racine Wis. Journal Times, August 11, 1989
Attorney General William Barr has put capital punishment into the news again. Capital punishment was controversial even before the Supreme Court ruled it "cruel and unusual" in Furman v. Georgia (1972). But civil libertarians have never been able to drive a stake through the heart of capital punishment; the Supremes reversed themselves only four years later in Gregg v. Georgia.

In Journal Times, September 3, 1989
The Journal Times solicited reader opinions on legalizing marijuana for its September 3 editorial page, even though anything approaching legalization was still decades in the future. The Bush administration Attorney General, Richard Thornburgh, in fact advocated sending U.S. troops to Colombia to fight the Medellin drug cartel. JT responders opposed legalization by a ratio of 4 to 1.
Spike Jones's film, "Do the Right Thing," was released in the U.S. on July 21, 1989 to stellar reviews, but some people worried that the riot scene at the film's climax would incite Black audiences to riot. It was slow to arrive to Racine's movie theatres, both owned by Marcus Theatres, but "Do the Right Thing" was eventually shown in the fall at the Rapids Plaza Cinema, across a busy street from Horlick High School, without incident.

The theatre was not so fortunate after a cancelled screening of "Boys 'n the Hood" two years later and was shuttered months after that. The public explanation for the closing was that the Rapids Cinema had only two screens, whereas the Westgate Cinema had six; both are gone now, replaced by the 13-screen Marcus Renaissance Cinema four miles outside city limits.

Let's close on a lighter note.

Judging from the absence of a date on it, I must have drawn this cartoon for Young at Heart. My usual notation of the date in the margin of the paper is also missing, but the cartoon was filed between the August and September cartoons. If Young at Heart ever published a Vol. 3 No. 7 or 8, I don't have a hard copy of it.