Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 in Review

Many newspapers have given up trying to keep up-to-date with the internet and have gone hyper-local these days — which is a good thing, if corporate bean-counters in far-off headquarters have allowed them to keep a staff able to investigate city hall, the state assembly representatives, and area corporations. If, however, the newspaper can't afford to do more than chase ambulances and fire trucks and to serve as a stenographer for the powers that be, its value is greatly diminished.

But what I'm getting at is that my annual photo is forced to overlook world events that don't get banner headlines. The citizen protests in Hong Kong are one example this year; China's repression of its Uighurs is another. My local papers have covered the devastating fires in Australia, but on inside pages. The same with Israel's interminable elections, but at least I have a magazine cover for that.

And as far as those magazine covers are concerned, I apologize to anyone angry that I've overlooked Tom Steyer, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Marianne Williamson, Deval Patrick, John Delaney, or Michael Bennet. These are the candidates who made the magazine covers in my house.

Speaking of overlooking the obvious, it wasn't my intent, but the cartoons I selected for my year in review include the President of the United States by name only.

...except for that photograph of him from gut to knees.

Monday, December 30, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

We're experiencing the last gasp of the 'teens, so there are retrospectives of the decade aplenty.

But by the time this week's cartoon goes public, we should all be over our hangovers and ready to face the next disastrous decade.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Dashing Through to 1920, Part 2

Soloback Saturday devotes today's installment to a single cartoon from December, 1919.
"The Honorable Mentionables for President, Subject to Revision" by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, December 21, 1919
John T. McCutcheon's tour de force on the 1920 presidential race uses nearly the entire alphabet to list all the potential candidates. (He couldn't come up with anything for the letter Q, and apparently overlooked I. The ninth letter of the alphabet is out of order, and I see no marcher holding it.) Some of the meter doesn't quite span well; but on the other hand, the cartoon is the earliest one I've come across to include the name of the eventual Democratic nominee.

But I'm still not going to tell you who he was yet.

The pages of broadsheet newspapers were much larger then than those of any U.S. newspaper today, allowing McCutcheon's cartoon approximately 6" x 8" of front page real estate. Yet I suspect that he might have wished to trade his spot that Sunday for Frank O. King's full page on the front of of the editorial section.

Since you may not have 6" x 8" of screen space to read the cartoon, and it has been nearly impossible to clean this image enough to be as legible as I'd like it to be, here's McCutcheon's poetry in full:
A is for Allen of Kansas, a man with considerable pep.
B is for Baker and Bryan, same party, but quite out of step.
C is for Cox and for Coolidge, Champ Clark, former Speaker, you know.
D is for Dawes, Daniels, Denby, Davis of Morgan and Co.
E is for Everyone mentioned whose name we've completely forgot.
F is Fair Field and No Favor, and all that sort of rot.
G is Goodrich and Gerard, both Jameses, W. and P.
H is for Harding and Hoover; you've heard all about Herbert C.
J is for Senator Johnson; the covenant pleases him not.
K is for Kenyon and Kellogg; their chances are not very hot.
L is for Governor Louden; Illinois is loud in his praise;
He's willing to move to the White House; the job of President pays.
M is for William A. MacAdoo, Vice President Marshall as well.
N is for No One Yet Mentioned, but of course, you never can tell.
O is for Orators plenty; they'll talk till you're totally deaf.
P  is for Poindexter and Palmer, and Pershing of the grand A.E.F.
R. is for Root, Reds and Radicals, the opposite ends of the pole.
S is for one who is known as the Hon. Gov. Sproul.
T is for Taft, William Howard; he served in the White House before;
He liked it while he was the tenant, and would probably like it some more.
U is for Senator Underwood, not supposed to be out for the place.
V is for Votes that will settle which candidate wins in the race.
W is for Wood and for Woodrow; their figures loom big in the sky.
W is also for Watson, who is said to be willing to try.
X is for X-candidate Hughes; he used to run four years ago.
Y is for Yank, both doughboy and gob; he'll play a big part in the show.
Z is for Zero, the hour next June when all of the world will know.
Ah, well. I did say that there would be only one cartoon this week, but since you've been such a good boy and/or girl, I'll throw in a second one about the Democratic presidential hopefuls.
"The Snow Man" by Clifford Berryman in Washington Evening Star, December 29, 1919
And yes, the eventual nominee is in here, too.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Q Toon: Many Crappy Returns

While the House was busy debating impeaching Donald Trump, the Senate was pretty busy itself.
The Senate confirmed 13 district court nominees this week, including former ACS chapter leader Stephanie Dawkins Davis to the Eastern District of Michigan. This brings the total number of confirmed lifetime judges during this administration to 187.
With 2019 ending, it is important to take stock of the historic overhaul of the federal judiciary. In 2019, the Senate confirmed 102 lifetime judges, 20 of whom were to the circuit courts. This is an incredibly rapid pace and means that 1 lifetime judge was confirmed every 4 days.
Just about every one of these judges are hard-core, doctrinaire right-wingers: hostile to marriage equality, reproductive choice, unions, public services, gun control, health care reform, regulation of campaign financing, and just about any other priority of any of the Democratic candidates for president.

Nine — so far — have been rated "not qualified" by the American Bar Association. George W. Bush nominated eight "not qualified" justices during his entire eight years in office, and Barack Obama never nominated a single one.

Trump's "Not Qualified" judges include Lawrence VanDyke, whom I featured in a cartoon last month, and Jonathan Kobes, whose confirmation last year to the U.S. Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit required a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump's unprecedented opportunity for packing the courts comes thanks to the Republican Senate majority under Mitch McConnell. Merrick Garland was not the only Obama judicial nominee McConnell's Republicans refused even to consider. McConnell blocked at least ten others to lower courts.
In 2007 and 2008, a Senate controlled by Democrats helped confirm 68 Bush judicial nominees, including 10 to appeals courts, Tobias said. The last 10 district judges were confirmed Sept. 26, 2008.
By comparison, a Republican-dominated Senate confirmed 20 of Obama’s judicial nominees in the final two years of his term, including two to appeals courts. That’s the fewest since Harry Truman’s presidency, Tobias said....
“The Trump Administration and Senate Republicans have continuously dismantled Senate rules and traditions — including the blue slip process for circuit court nominees — so that they can put highly ideological, corporate jurists on the federal bench,” [Pennsylvania Sen. Bob] Casey said.“It’s a shame that Majority Leader McConnell set the precedent for this breakdown of Senate norms by playing partisan politics and arbitrarily shutting down the judicial nomination process during the final years of the Obama Administration.” 
Should any of the Democratic candidates for president overcome the Republican advantage in the electoral college next November, expect this flurry of Republican jurisimprudence to become a blizzard.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Toon: The Three Impeach-os

So the House voted to impeach Donald Trump, and I was publishing a cartoon about TV commercials.

Now it's Christmas Eve, and I've got this bit of holiday cheer for you.

Yeah, the premise of Trump talking to one living ex-president and one dead one is kind of weird. For those of you who flunked American history, they are Andrew Johnson (impeached in 1868) and Bill Clinton (impeached 130 years later).

Johnson, a Democrat elected Vice President with Abraham Lincoln on a "Union Party" ticket, quickly ran afoul of Radical Republicans in Congress who passed laws to prevent him from replacing Lincoln's cabinet members. He fired the Secretary of War anyway, and Congress came up with over a dozen counts of impeachment against him.

The radical Republican majority in Congress in the 1990's launched an investigation into President Clinton's wife's real estate dealings in Arkansas, which somehow ended up being all about his sexual affairs. He lied to the Special Prosecutor about it and didn't have an Attorney General who would put out a disingenuous summary of the Prosecutor's report, so Republicans gleefully impeached him.

The Senate fell short of booting either one from office, and the Republican majority is extremely unlikely to oust their buddy Trump; so you might be wondering why we're even bothering with any of this.

The answer is that there is no other way for Congress to register a complaint against presidential misbehavior. The Supreme Court has opined that incumbent presidents can't be prosecuted in a court of law; Congress considered and rejected the option of "censure" against Clinton. A Republican Congressman tried shouting "Liar!" at Barack Obama during a State of the Union address once; but pretty well everyone else agreed it was such a bad idea, Trump spews out lies uncontrollably and nobody in Congress ever calls him on it.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Week's Sneak Peek

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Swell Solstice, and Spiffy Saturnalia where available.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Grumpy Christmas!

Impeachment? What impeachment? Santaback Saturday is ready to celebrate Christmas — 1919.
Detail of "The Rectangle" by Frank O. King in Chicago Tribune, December 21, 1919

The bottom half of Frank King's "The Rectangle" presented a host of gags typical of the complaints about the High Cost of Living (the top half of his page having become the domain of Gasoline Alley at this point). I could fill this post up with them; but I already did that for Thanksgiving, and December of 1919 provided editorial cartoonists with less evergreen material, so let's move on.
Detail of "The Tiny Tribune" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, December 23, 1919
On December 21, 1919, the United States deported 249 non-citizens accused of communist or anarchist activity, shipping them to Russia (by way of Finland) aboard the USAT Buford, variously nicknamed the Soviet or Red Ark. Among them were Mother Earth founder Emma Goldman and fellow anarchist leader Alexander Berkman.
"The Christmas Spirit" by Clifford Berryman in Washington Evening Star, December 22, 1919
184 of the other passengers were members of the Union of Russian Workers arrested in the Palmer Raids (named for Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer) in November. A major player in those raids, who then personally saw the deportees off at the New York docks, was an up-and-comer in the FBI named J. Edgar Hoover.
"The Reds' Christmas" by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, December 24, 1919
As John McCutcheon and others predicted, many of those deported soon became disillusioned with the Russian government's suppression of free speech and association. Goldman and Berkman left Russia in 1921 after the Kremlin ruthlessly quashed a revolt by Kronstadt sailors, a group who had been among the Bolsheviks' earliest supporters.
"'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Bruce Stevenson in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 21, 1919
Meanwhile, Bruce Stevenson had some advice for Americans who didn't want to be shipped to Moscow on the next boat. Some people think all editorial cartoons should be like his: clearly drawn, patriotic, uplifting, and hopelessly dull. Consider this my Merry Christmas gift to those people.

Working for the same newspaper, Nelson Harding used his space to highlight world news with a local angle.
"The Empty Stocking" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 26, 1919
A Brooklyn businessman returning from months in Europe, Theodore Genter, described a continent in dire straits. Of Austria he told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, "Her cupboard is bare. She is going to the wall, and I don't think all the powers of Europe in conjunction with America can save her." Elsewhere, a cold winter lay ahead: "England's coal production has fallen off 46%. Belgium has ceased to export coal. The French have not the cars in which to export it. ... All Europe is on coal rations."
"Barmherzigkeit!" by Werner Hahmann in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, December 7, 1919
If England and France were sharing in the postwar suffering, you wouldn't know it from the work of German cartoonist Werner Hahmann. His thin and threadbare German Michel shares his scraps of bread with the starving and destitute Viennese, while plump and wealthy French Marianne and British John Bull pass blithely by. The quotation underneath the cartoon excerpts the apocryphal Acts of Andrew.
"O Du Fr├Âhliche —" by Ernst Schilling in Simplicissimus, Munich, December 24, 1919
German cartoonists were ready, willing and able to one-up any High Cost of Living cartoon from their American counterparts. The "ghastly doll" in Hahmann's cartoon below is labeled "Peace Treaty"; the portrait on the wall is of German Foreign Minister Hermann M├╝ller, a signatory of the treaty.
"Keine Weihnachsfreude" by Werner Hahmann in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, December 14, 1919
O Freunde, nicht diese Toons! Sondern la├čt uns angenehmere schlie├čen und freudenvollere.

I close today's episode with a couple of cartoons from the January, 1919 edition of Cartoons Magazine, which its editors may have saved from earlier Christmases and are therefore not necessarily topical. This cartoon by Billy Ireland, however, prefigures present-day sheep-shooter Donald Trump Jr.
"Confidentially, We Are Planning to Pick Up a Deer" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Dispatch, ca. Dec. 1918
I leaves you with wishes for the happy holidays of your choice, and thanks for letting me catches your eye!
"I Looks Toward You All..." by Clive Weed in Philadelphia Public Ledger, ca. Dec. 1918

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Q Toon: Televisibility

The LGBTQ community is more visible in television advertising these days than we were only a very short time ago.

Chalk it up to a greater sensitivity to diversity. When I was a tyke, the only faces we saw in television commercials were white, except for Jose the coffee farmer and the laundry woman whose "ancient Chinese secret, eh?" turned out to be a grocery store fabric softener. In the '70's, black faces began to show up: first football celebrities like O.J. Simpson and Mean Joe Green. Soon a hillside of multiracial folks offered "to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony," but it would still be a while before non-white actors would sell us cars, insurance, and other expensive stuff.

Now that societal attitudes toward the LGBTQ community have softened, folks like us have begun showing up in commercials, too. Their appearances are usually fleeting and might leave viewers thinking, "Did I just see what I think I saw?" The young woman who leaps enthusiastically into another young woman's arms at the airport in an amazon.com commercial ... are they a couple? Wasn't that a guy in make-up for nearly a full second in an Ulta ad?

Maybe the two gals dancing together at the house party in the Grey Goose commercial just happen to like dancing. And Spectrum Mobile made a point in its latest commercial of mentioning that the two guys featured in its ad campaign just happen to live together; they're not family. The framed pictures over their kitchen table of shirtless 1890's boxers don't mean a thing.

Advertisers and content carriers still get flack from older and more sensitive viewers when our presence in a commercial is impossible to overlook, even with the mute button on. Such was the case with an ad by Zola that ran on the Hallmark Channel. The setting for the commercial was the wedding of two women, which set off the alarm bells at One Million Moms Inc.

OMM has been battling against gays and lesbians in TV commercials ever since J.C. Penney hired Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson back in 2012. The then-110-year-old retailer was hoping that some gay cachet would give it a trendy vibe. It didn't work.

Flush with their seven-year-old success, Megamoms fired off a protest last week to Hallmark, which announced that it was pulling the ad "to avoid controversy." Zola, an on-line wedding gift registry company, replied by pulling the rest of its advertising from the Hallmark Channel, which shocked Hallmark into an immediate reversal.
“The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials,”  said Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards, which controls Crown Media Networks, the parent company of Hallmark Channel, in a prepared statement.  “Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.” He acknowledged the ban had caused “hurt and disappointment.”
I'm so glad that because I drew last week's cartoon about the Hallmark Channel, I gave this week's cartoon a more general focus. I didn't catch news of Hallmark's reversal until after I'd sent my cartoon off to the syndicate.

Besides, like the lady in the cartoon, I hadn't actually seen the commercial.

Monday, December 16, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

If memory serves me correctly for a change, this is the fifth time this lady has appeared in one of my cartoons (starting here).

Any more, and I'll have to give her a name.

Happy Beethoven's Birthday, everyone!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Dashing Through to 1920

It's Sledback Saturday at Bergetoons, and with an election year right around the corner, it's time to check out who's running for president in 1920.
"The First Snow of the Season" by Cy Hungerford in Pittsburgh Sun, December, 1919
In December, 1919, The Republican Party selected Chicago as the site for their national convention in June. There was no shortage of Republicans angling for their party's presidential nomination. These first three cartoons include one past president — William Howard Taft — and three future presidents — Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, and the 1920 winner, Warren Harding. At the moment, in December of 1919, the favorite according to conventional wisdom was General Leonard Wood, who appears in the forefront in these three cartoons.
"The Early Bird" by Grover Page in Louisville Courier-Journal, December, 1919
Other Republican contenders in these cartoons include Senators Hiram Johnson of California, Miles Poindexter of Washington, William Borah of Idaho and Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts; and Governors William C. Sproul of Pennsylvania and Gov. Frank Lowden of Illinois.

Cy Hungerford adds Democrats Sen. Atlee Pomerene of Ohio, former Ambassador to Germany James Gerard, and former Treasury Secretary William MacAdoo in his cartoon. Can you guess which one of them won the Democratic nomination?
"The Line at the Ticket Window..." by J.N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, December 17, 1919
Okay, that was a trick question. But I will have to return to the Democrats another day.

Instead, here's a quick run-through of the major issues candidates in both parties would address:
"Jump" by Magnus Kettner for Western Newspaper Union, by December 20, 1919
First and foremost among issues of the day was the High Cost of Living, which was commonly abbreviated "H.C.L." in cartoons and newspapers of the time. ("H.C.L." virtually disappeared from cartoons and newspapers in December for some reason* — pressure from holiday advertisers perhaps? — even though cartoons critical of profiteers did not.)

I neglected to explain the acronym a few weeks ago when I posted a John McCutcheon cartoon depicting "H.C.L." as a woman at Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving dinner. One reader's first thought was that McCutcheon was depicting Senator Henry Cabot Lodge in drag, a connection I had missed and which I doubt ever occurred to McCutcheon, either.
"The Closed Shop" by Edwin Marcus in New York Times, ca. November, 1919
If profiteers caught some of the blame for the High Cost of Living, few cartoonists expressed any sympathy for workers doing anything collectively to catch up with it. Coalmen, railroad shop workers, food producers, steel workers and the Boston police were among some 3,600 strikes declared in 1919, and were roundly condemned by all but the socialist press. Even the New York Times smeared "strikers" as "labor radicals" deaf to "Reason."
"Where Do We Go From Here?" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 15, 1919
Turning now to foreign policy: negotiations between the Democratic administration and the Republican Congress over the Versailles Peace Accord and League of Nations completely broke down. With neither side willing to compromise, the issue was sure to remain on the table throughout the 1920 campaign.
"The Mexican Merry-Go-Round" by Ted Brown in Chicago Daily News, December, 1919
A rash of kidnappings for ransom of U.S. citizens by Pancho Villa's rebels returned U.S.-Mexican relations to the front burner. Villistas demanded $150,000 ransom for the release of a U.S. consular official; other kidnap victims included oilmen and cattle ranchers.
"Put Up the Bars" by Fred O. Seibel in Knickerbocker Press, November, 1919
Finally, immigration was another hot-button issue — not so much against Mexicans, but rather against leftist agitators from eastern and central Europe, and especially Italy. Cartoonists, as well as other journalists, politicians, and the Attorney General, drew no distinction between communists, socialists, anarchists, and union leaders. Dangers real and imagined made immigrants, who up to this point could come to America at will (except for the Chinese), increasingly suspect and unpopular.
* P.S.: I found one.
"The Weapon and Point of Attack" by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, December 18, 1919
I'm 100% positive that McCutcheon and his editors were not accusing Henry Cabot Lodge of burglary.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Q Toon: Mark the Halls

A right-wing religious website you may never have heard of announced last week that it had collected 30,000 on-line signatures petitioning the Hallmark Channel not to show any Christmas movies featuring LGBTQ characters.
Controversy and outrage erupted in conservative circles after a November 15 interview with Hallmark Channel CEO Bill Abbot for The Hollywood Reporter's TV's Top 5 podcast. Abbot stated that he would be "open" to the idea of a gay-themed Christmas movie, although the channel has yet to produce one and has no immediate plans to do so. The channel is said to be releasing over three dozen Christmas-themed films this year, none with gay major characters.
Out Magazine decided to have a little fun with the petition's organizer, LifeSiteNews, by testing how easy it would be to add scurrilous signatures to it.
"To wit, individuals can sign the LifeSiteNews petition as many times as they want, so long as they list a new name and email address. For instance, Out was able to fill out the petition half a dozen times under names like “Rick Santorum,” “Audrey IV,” “Deacon Rumpy Pumpy,” “Rev. Mr. Kool-Aid Man,” and “The Ghost of Titsmas Past.” A few emails were rejected (sploogeandmarley@gmail.com was sadly a no-go) but most others were accepted. The emails frothymixture@aol.com and poop.licker@yumyum.com were among those met with a cheery response."
The Hallmark Channel is not known for groundbreaking or provocative entertainment. It's a G-rated channel you can safely have on while hosting five generations of your family at your house. Its movies tend to follow a predictable plot outline: the central character is a newly single or career-driven woman, or a pre-teen child who doesn't get along with his/her step-parent. The central character encounters someone of the opposite sex whom she/he initially can't stand. The two are seemingly incapable of avoiding each other, and they fall in love. There's one last obstacle to overcome. They overcome it.

Festoon that plot with tinsel and you have a Christmas movie.

Hallmark can get in trouble when it colors outside the plot lines, and not just from its regular viewers. One of this season's movies is about a woman who hires an actor to pretend to be her boyfriend at her family Christmas get-together; he's Jewish and somehow doesn't know anything about Christmas. Jewish advocacy groups have called the movie anti-Semitic.

We can look forward to the sequel in which she brings ham to his family's Passover seder and rearranges the table when she notices that there is one chair too many.

Monday, December 9, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

I've made a list and checked it twice.

Toon in later this week to find out whether it's naughty or nice.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Will I Make It Through the Eighties?

Spandexback Saturday rummages through the attic today and comes down with a handful of my cartoons from the closing weeks of 1989.
"Bless Me, Father" in UW-Milwaukee Post, November 21, 1989
On November 16, 1989, priests on the campus of Central American University in San Salvador opened the doors to their residence to a cadre of El Salvador soldiers. The soldiers assassinated all six priests, as well as their cook and her daughter who had the tragic misfortune to be in the residence at the time.

As they left, the soldiers shot up the outside of the building and scrawled graffiti intended to make it appear as if the murders had been carried out by Farabundo Mart├ş National Liberation Front (FMNL) rebels. But there was a witness.
"Think, Mrs. Cerna" in UWM Post, November 28, 1989
I caught some grief for the UWM Post cartoon at the top of this post. Struggling to understand what editorial cartooning is supposed to be about, reader Gerald Harp wrote in a letter to the editor,
"I'm not quite sure why I objected to the cartoon, but I'm not sure why you printed it, either, so I feel justified in writing to you.
"Why did you print it? My feeling is that the cartoon was not funny, but then that may not be the point. Next, the cartoon had enormous shock potential. I was shocked, but that by itself is not a redeeming value.
"My best guess is that you were attempting to educate your readers of the atrocities in El Salvador. That is a worthy goal, but my next question is, 'are all means equally valuable in presenting a message?'
"After thinking it over, I decided you were not trying to make some kind of statement about the Catholic Church, and the soldier making an obvious mockery of something important to me, namely confession, shouldn't insult me because I'm not supposed to identify with the soldier. Still the cartoon leaves me uneasy and vaguely offended.
"I don't disagree with your sentiments, but I'd ask you to be a bit more careful in the future to separate the statement you are making from any irrelevant theme, especially if people will feel strongly about the secondary theme."
Without any trigger warning, the Post reprinted my vaguely-offending cartoon right next to Mr. Harp's letter. (Did GenX even have trigger warnings in the eighties?)
"Well Worth a Look-See" in UWM Post, December 5, 1989
Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President George H.W. Bush held their first summit meeting aboard the TS Maxim Gorky off the coast of Malta on December 2. The summit was beset by gale force winds and choppy seas, inspiring my Post cartoon; navy veteran Bush was not yet known for throwing up in world leaders' laps.
"Dan, You Did a Good Job..." in UW-Parkside Ranger, December 14, 1989
In fact, both Bush and Gorbachev went into the meeting with ambitious sets of proposals and found significant areas of agreement. They declared the Cold War over, but Bush's Vice President was not quite ready to bury the hatchet. Dan Quayle joined a chorus of conservative Republicans warning against "getting caught up in the magnetic personality of Chairman Gorbachev."

A comedian named Julie Brown had recorded a song called "Will I Make It Through the '80's" in 1984. It hadn't garnered the MTV-play that her novelty hit "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun" did (humor that really has not aged well), and was largely forgotten five years later or it might have been the basis of this last cartoon.

This was another cartoon about a serious topic. Homicides in the city of Milwaukee that year reached triple digits for the first time ever: 113 homicides in all.
"I Survived 1989" in UWM Post, December 7, 1989
That number would climb even higher, to 155, in 1990.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Q Toon: Yes, We Have No Palmettos

If the polls are to be believed, Pete Buttigieg has soared into the lead among Democratic candidates for president in first in the nation contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

But even if December polling translates into actual voting in February, the next stop on the campaign trail is in South Carolina, where Mayor Pete is polling just slightly ahead of A Poke In The Eye With A Sharp Stick.

Whereas Iowa and New Hampshire electorates are among the whitest in the nation, South Carolina Democrats rank among the blackest. Not that race has helped black candidates there; even if you added Cory Booker's numbers and those of Kamala Harris before she suspended her candidacy this week, you'd still fall well short of former Vice President Joe Biden's support among South Carolina Democrats. Apparently, being anti-malarkey is a big selling point down there.

I don't hold a lot of stock in polls this far before any actual voting, however, especially where Democrats are concerned. Democratic candidates are like a bunch of cats in a room, and the polls are like a laser pointer shining on one of them. The rest all attack that spot of light until it lands on one of the other kitties.

Remember: at this point in 2003, Howard Dean led the polls; Hillary Clinton had a substantial lead over Barack Obama in December of 2007.

But once the cattle calls debates are over and the caucuses and primaries are underway, my cartoons will have to focus on issues, not who's up and who's down. My deadline for cartoons that will appear after the polls close is well before the polls open. So if I'm gonna comment on the horse race, I have to do it now.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Q Toon: No Trump Double Bogey

I suppose the Donald is making some attempt to reach out beyond the Religious Right on this issue. After all, if secularly-inclined voters are going soft on antigay attitudes, you have to find some argument other than Leviticus and the letters of St. Paul to pull them back in line.

P.S.: I've been uploading cartoons to replace the dead AAEC links in some eight or nine years' worth of posts, and I have no idea why this 2011 post has reappeared as a 2019 post. This cartoon was about a comment Trump made during his unsuccessful run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, not something he has said lately. 

I do know that this isn't the first time this particular cartoon posted strangely.

Monday, December 2, 2019

This Week's Sneak Peek

I saw in the news today that Joe Sestak and Steve Bullock have dropped out of the presidential race, a move that has many asking "Joe Sestak and Steve Bullock were running for president? Really?"

And others asking, "They're a football player and a stand-up comedian, right?"

By the way, if anyone is curious about the serendipitously scheduled military dog stamps I mentioned last week, but has as much use for postage stamps as for 8-track tapes, here's what I was talking about.