Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Toon: Said the Cat, We're All Mad Here

This week's cartoons comprise a triptych of sorts.

Black Lives Matter Protests in Madison turned violent last week after the arrest of a Black male who brought a bullhorn and a baseball bat into a downtown restaurant and allegedly demanded free food. This was not an arrest in which a Black man was killed; but force was used, and video was shared on social media and tempers flared.

The protesters engaged in quite a lot of destruction of property — and there was absolutely no incidence of boogaloo droogs this time — windows broken at the capitol, molotov cocktails thrown into buildings, and two statues were torn down.
Protesters removed two Capitol statues from their pedestals, WPR reported: “the Forward statue, located on the west entrance of the Capitol at the end of State Street, and a statue of Col. Hans Christian Heg, located on the east entrance of the Capitol at the King Street corner of the square…. Protesters took the Heg statue and dumped it in Lake Monona, almost a half-mile from where it was toppled. And the Forward statue “as of early Wednesday morning, was about a block from the state Capitol in the middle of the street.”
We don't have monuments to Confederate generals in this state. "Forward" was a replica of an 1895 statue by Jean Pond Miner Stoneman of a woman gesturing in the direction of the state motto. The original was purchased by women's suffrage organizations and "presented to the state of Wisconsin on behalf of the women's suffrage movement." The copper statue was replaced in 1996 with a bronze one and moved to a museum. The replica was a frequent rallying spot for protests during the Scott Walker administration.

Far from being a slave-owner, Hans Christian Heg was a leader of a citizen militia that worked to thwart slave catchers. When the Civil War broke out, he was appointed colonel in charge of the largely Scandinavian 15th Wisconsin infantry, seeing action in Kentucky and Tennessee. After pursuing a retreating Confederate unit to Chickamauga, Georgia in September, 1863, he was fatally wounded by a shot to the abdomen.

But perhaps more to the interests of the spokesperson for the protesters, Heg was State Prison Commissioner in 1859, pushing for vocational training rather than the punishment of prisoners. I think that's actually one of the demands of this week's protesters. Too bad they never bothered to learn the history of the statue before tearing it down, beheading it, and dumping it in Lake Monona.

The protesters' spokesperson apparently had little to say about the Heg statue, which was a gift from the Norwegian Society of America in 1925, around the time that Confederate statues were spreading across Dixie like kudzu. Instead, she focused her contempt on Ms. Forward:
“We’re not moving forward, we’re moving backwards,” said Ebony Anderson-Carter. “This (statue) doesn’t need to be here until we’re ready to move forward.”
Anderson-Carter says she and the other protesters want to see something done about racial injustice in the state, and speak with the state’s Black youth.
“The Capitol is where we solve problems, and nobody’s coming here to solve problems,” said Anderson-Carter.
Statues can be repaired and replaced. But not all of the damage Tuesday night was to inanimate objects. I'll have more on that on Thursday.

Monday, June 29, 2020

This Week's Sneak Peek

For this week's sneak peek, here's a pencil sketch from the rough drafts for my Q Syndicate cartoon.

It won't be the only cartoon I'm posting this week. Check in tomorrow to see if I can manage to crank out another one by tonight.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

To Serve and Protect

I've been hearing a lot from my Minneapolis friends about the stubborn resistance of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation to any sort of reform after the torture and death of George Floyd at the hands (or, more accurately, the knees) of one of their officers.

Union president Bob Kroll has vowed to fight to reinstate the four officers fired and now charged in the homicide, and has repeatedly insinuated that Floyd deserved his fate.

There is a long history of racism in the Minneapolis Police Department. The union is still fighting to force the city to reinstate two officers fired for festooning the fourth precinct's Christmas tree with racist items in 2018.

Serving and protecting the bad apples is not limited to Minneapolis by any means.

Two years ago, the Milwaukee Police Department tweeted out congratulations to two of its retiring officers, John Balcerzak and Dennis Wallich, having served a combined 61 years on the Milwaukee Police force.
If you are about my age and live anywhere near Milwaukee, the name John Balcerzak should ring a bell.

In the wee hours of May 27, 1991, Balcerzak and his squad partner, Joseph Gabrish, responded to a 911 call from three women who found a 14-year-old boy naked and bleeding; the boy had a fresh hole drilled in his head. The boy was Konerak Sinthasomphone, who had managed to leave the apartment of Jeffrey Dahmer while the serial killer and convicted child molester was out getting alcohol from a bar.

Dahmer (white) arrived on the scene before Balcerzak (white) and Gabrish (white). Sinthasomphone (Hmong) was unable to speak English for himself, so Dahmer told the officers that the boy was his 19-year-old boyfriend. The women (black) pointed out that Sinthasomphone was bleeding, but the officers told them to "butt out," wrapped Sinthasomphone in a towel and took him back to Dahmer's apartment. Where, by the way, the body of Tony Hughes lay rotting in the bedroom from three days earlier.

Failing to check either Dahmer's or Sinthasomphone's IDs, Balcerzak and Gabrish left the boy with his murderer and drove off, joking with the police dispatcher about those silly faggots. Dahmer would go on to kill Sinthasomphone and four more young men before a fifth intended victim managed to escape and flagged down two police officers (who were not Balcerzak and Gabrish).

Balcerzak and Gabrish were fired over their professional malpractice, but their union got them reinstated to MPD on appeal. Balcerzak was even elected president of the Milwaukee Police Association in 2005.

This has been a very difficult time for unions around the country, but not for police unions. When Scott Walker and his Republican army swept to power in Wisconsin ten years ago, they targeted every state employees union with the exception of their supporters in the police and firefighters unions. Lest you think this was purely a law and order issue, you should note that the prison workers union was not safe from Republicans' full-bore assault.

In light of this year's sustained Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality, Democrats may not be as loath to follow Republicans' playbook on union-busting as you might think.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Read All About It

"It's Your Next Draw" by Jay N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, June 18, 1920
Like the Republicans before them, when the 1920 Democratic National Convention met June 28 to July 6, there was no clear front runner among the possible candidates.
"Anybody, Good Lord" by Gustavo Bronstrup in San Francisco Chronicle, June, 1920
San Francisco hosted the Democrats, so here's a cartoon by the hometown cartoonist, Gustavo A. Bronstrup. There were at least fourteen active Democratic candidates for the nomination, and several states sent delegations that weren't committed to any of them. It was anybody's game.
"It Took the Whole Family to Chloroform It" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, July 3, 1920
If there was any candidate in the front of the pack, it was Former Treasury Secretary William MacAdoo. But MacAdoo was stymied by his father-in-law, incumbent President Woodrow Wilson, who clung to the unreasonable hope that the party would overlook his extremely poor health and nominate him for a third term.
"It's a Long, Long Way to San Francisco" by Albert Reid in The National Republican, ca. June 14, 1920
Another hopeless aspirant was three-time loser William Jennings Bryan, an advocate of U.S. neutrality in World War I who had quit as Wilson's Secretary of State in 1915. Republican Albert Reid's cartoon greatly overstates Bryan's differences with Wilson's foreign and domestic policies; Bryan had put his doubts about the League of Nations aside to give it public support. He and Wilson agreed on pushing for laborers' 8-hour workday (Bryan believed more strongly on their right to strike than Wilson did), and both came around to favor female suffrage.
"Outside the Convention Door" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Collier's Weekly, July 3, 1920
The issue most associated with Bryan in 1920, however, was Prohibition. Bryan's push for the strictest possible party plank in favor of Prohibition put him dead set against "Wet" candidates such as Governors Al Smith of New York and Edward Edwards of New Jersey.
"Little Hans Stopping the Hole in the Dike" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Des Moines Register, June/July, 1920
Bryan stood adamantly against the "Wets" calling for total repeal of Prohibition, and also against "Moist" planks allowing the production and sale of cider, light wines, and 3.2% alcoholic beer. It may or may not have been the most contentious issue at the convention; it certainly was of great interest to newspaper reporters and cartoonists.
"The Substitute" by Gustavo Bronstrup in San Francisco Chronicle, July, 1920
Hometown cartoonist Bronstrup suggested that if Bryan had his way, the Democratic party might need a new cartoon symbol to replace its donkey. Bryan's "Bone Dry" plank met defeat, however.
"They Never Saw Him" by Burt Thomas in Detroit News, July, 1920
The Democratic platform passed without any statement on Prohibition; it also settled for wishy-washy platitudes in support of the people of Ireland and Armenia.

I haven't been able to find any cartoon delving into as many platform issues as the one on the GOP platform by John McCutcheon, so here's one by Orville Williams bemoaning the Democrats' plank in favor of Wilson's League of Nations. (In case your screen is too small, that's Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson levitating back there.)
"Off the Trail" by Orville P. Williams in New York American, June/July, 1920
After 44 ballots over four days (including July 4), the convention finally agreed on a presidential candidate at 1:40 a.m. Pacific Time on July 6: Governor James Middleton Cox of Ohio.
"What, Another One?" by Dennis McCarthy in New Orleans Times Picayune, July, 1920
That both major political parties' presidential nominees were Ohioans was fodder for the immediate batch of editorial cartoons.
"An Awkward Moment for Mother" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, July 11, 1920
"Centering Right Over Ohio" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Dispatch, July, 1920
The cartoonist for Cleveland, Ohio's socialist weekly, however, was not particularly impressed.
"Introducing the 'Peepul's Choice'" by Keas in The Toiler, Cleveland, OH, July 9, 1920
Not only were Harding and Cox both from the same state, they both also came to politics after starting their careers in newspapers: Harding as publisher-editor of the Marion Star, and Cox as a copy editor at the Dayton Daily News.
"The Political Ouija" by Ted Brown in Chicago Daily News, July, 1920
(Ouija boards were all the rage among editorial cartoonists in 1920. I must have come across hundreds of cartoons about them.)
"Competition Among Ohio Newsies" by Harry Keys in Columbus Citizen, February, 1920
In his congratulatory message to the Democratic nominee, Warren Harding took note of the above cartoon Harry Keys had drawn for the Columbus Citizen the previous February: "I recall a much remarked cartoon which portrayed you and me as newsboys contending for the White House delivery. It seems to have been prophetic."
"Why Not a Newspaper Cabinet?" by Daniel Fitzpatrick in St. Louis Post Dispatch, July, 1920
Daniel Fitzpatrick has a bit of fun with the coincidence, casting a number of newspaper comic strip characters as the cabinet of the future president.
"Going to Press with the Second Edition" by Claude Shafer in Cincinnati Post, July, 1920
After all, what is the point of having a newspaper without any cartoons?

Friday, June 26, 2020

Who You Calling Non-Essential?

Remember that Singapore Sunday Times poll asking its readers to rate how important certain professions are against each other? The one that rated artists the least important of all?

Over in Spain, they've been conducting a controlled experiment on what life would be without artists. Here's what you get when, to restore a classic painting, instead of an artist, you hire a more essential worker —
— in this case, a guy who varnishes furniture for a living.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Q Toon: Hold Your Firing

The Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (and companion cases Altitude Express v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioncame out minutes after I sent my weekly cartoon off to Q Syndicate a week ago Monday; so every other cartoonist in the known universe has already had a chance to publish their rainbow-themed cartoons. Since I've had to withhold my reaction (in fairness to the papers that subscribe to my work), I decided to take note of the reaction of the guy who appointed the guy who wrote the majority opinion.

Trump's response, as is his wont, was to fire off a pissy tweet:
"These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!"
Trump was equally annoyed, if not moreso, by the Court ruling against him in Department of Homeland Security et. al. v. Regents of the University of California et. al., blocking the Corrupt Trump Administration's plans to scrap the Dreamers' program. "Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?" the President of the United States of America and Leader of the Free World sulked in reply.

His attention span being what it is, Trump has since devoted his office to proving that he can drink a glass of water one-handed, complaining about having to walk down a ramp, and insisting that the number of people who attended his Tulsa rally really ought to include the people who were watching it on Fox News.

The Supremes are expected to rule this week on whether the state of Louisiana can regulate women's health care out of existence, and chances are still good that the Roberts Court will find its way back into Republicans' and Conservatives' good graces.

Thereby, I suppose, saving our 2nd. Amendment.

Monday, June 22, 2020

This Week's Sneak Peek

As you might have guessed even without the snippet from this week's cartoon, I'm finally posting something about last week's Supreme Court ruling.

I'll let you guess which one and whether I thought it was a good decision or not.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Perennial Caption Contest Winner

D.D. Degg at Daily Cartoonist yesterday dug up what may possibly be the first example of a Cartoon Caption Contest.
The contest appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal of January 6, 1913 and was won by a certain W. H. Crossland of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who submitted the immortal side-splitter, "A Fool There Was."

Honorable mention went to Wilbur Eitbach of New York, Wisconsin.
(Just kidding.)

Saturday, June 20, 2020

What Is So Rare As a Cartoon in June?

For Smatteringback Saturday today, I'm rehashing a handful of my own cartoons from Junes of ten, twenty, thirty, and omigod forty years ago.
June, 1980
Back in 1980, I didn't have cartoons published outside of the regular school year, so this cartoon never saw print; but I've run it twice on this here blog, so all its tedious shading hasn't been for naught. A college student's youthful idealism allowed me to imagine that independent presidential candidate John Anderson had any chance of being sworn into office on January 20.
In Racine, WI Journal Times, June 17, 1990
Ten years later, I was drawing local issue cartoons for the Racine Journal Times and cartoons on more general topics for a couple University of Wisconsin newspapers. The local issue above concerned Racine's major shopping center, Regency Mall, and its developers' insistence that there not be a bus stop at any of its doors. In their thinking, convenient bus stops would invite riff-raff from the inner city (oh but don't you dare think they were talking about persons of color); shoppers and employees complained of having to walk — especially in winter — from the roadway that circles the perimeter of the parking lot.

In those days, Regency Mall bustled year 'round, with shoe stores; specialty clothing shops for men, women, and children; half a dozen jewelry stores; a couple of bookstores and two music stores; and anchors J.C. Penney's, Sears, Boston Store, and Prange's.

Today, almost all of that is gone. The remaining jewelry stores, discount clothing shops, exercise gym, and fast food joints are widely separated by vacancies covered over with mural-sized historical photographs of Racine.

The failure of the mall had nothing to do with moving the bus stops to the inner ring drive.
In UW-M Post, Milwaukee, June 20, 1990
A huge issue for Republicans in 1990 was stopping protesters from burning the U.S. flag — which only made protesters want to do it more often. Upholding a similar decision the previous year, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in U.S. v. Eichmann on June 11, 1990 that flag-burning was protected by the First Amendment. "Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering," wrote archliberal Justice William Brennan in opinion, joined by archconservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans campaigned to amend the constitution to overturn the court's decision. Congress voted on the proposed amendment six times between 1995 and 2006, but it has always fallen short of the necessary 67 votes in the Senate.
Q Syndicate, June, 2000
Let us now jump ahead to 2000, by which time I had begun drawing LGBTQ-centric cartoons for Q Syndicate. I had a few particular members of the clergy in mind when I drew this June cartoon about the way certain liberal religious folk were trying to ride their camel through the eye of the needle between accepting same-sex marriage and being "welcoming." But this pastor does not physically resemble any of them.
Q Syndicate, June, 2000
Also in June, 2000, there was speculation that Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan might tap talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger to be his running mate. I'm not sure what "Dr. Laura," who called homosexuality "a biological error" and claimed that "a huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys," would have added to the ticket when Buchanan's antigay animus was already firmly established. In the end, she wasn't interested in running for Vice President anyway, but I certainly enjoyed drawing this cartoon.

If you can name Pat Buchanan's 2000 running mate without looking it up, congratulations. You are either the world's wonkiest politics geek, or you've been dead for two years.

Meanwhile, one of the other candidates that year decided that the United States just doesn't have enough federal Christian holidays.
I can't remember whether I drew that cartoon for Q Syndicate, or if it only ever appeared on my old GeoCities page. At this point, it's difficult to check which; although, since there isn't any explicitly L, G, B, T, or Q subject matter, it's probably the latter. It certainly wasn't in the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Q Syndicate, June, 2010
Finally, here's a cartoon from June of 2010 just for schitzengigels and because it didn't make the cut for my look back at Pride cartoons a couple weeks ago.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Ditto for "Dotard"

A year and a half ago, Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California asked Google CEO Sundar Pichai why you get a bunch of pictures of Donald Trump when you google "idiot."

It still works.
To be fair, most of these link to news stories and blog posts about how you get a bunch of pictures of Donald Trump when you google "idiot."

But shush. Don't bother the President now. He's busy tweeting.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Q Toon: Now You See It

Shortly after I posted this cartoon to Q Syndicate, news of the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision that legal protections for LGBTQ employees are constitutional. Their rather surprising ruling, written by Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, has overshadowed the Trump administration's having finalized rules eliminating nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ persons in health care and health insurance.
"HHS respects the dignity of every human being, and as we have shown in our response to the pandemic, we vigorously protect and enforce the civil rights of all to the fullest extent permitted by our laws as passed by Congress," said Roger Severino, who directs the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services, in a written statement announcing that the HHS rule had become final. The rule is set to go into effect by mid-August.
It is one of many rules and regulations put forward by the Trump administration that defines "sex discrimination" as only applying when someone faces discrimination for being female or male, and does not protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), prohibits discrimination in health coverage and care. It bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in health programs and activities that receive federal funding. That these protections include transgender persons is supported by a rule adopted by HHS in 2016 and by most lower courts.

The Corrupt Trump Administration's repeal of the 2016 rule has been a long time coming, however; this is the fourth cartoon I've drawn in as many years about Severino and his determination to allow discrimination against LGBTQ patients and insurance consumers. "We're going back to the plain meaning of those terms, which is based on biological sex," Severino said in 2017, adding that the rule could save hospitals and insurers and others $2.9 billion over five years since they will be relieved of the requirement to print notices of nondiscrimination in several languages.
Under the new rule, a transgender person could, for example, be refused care for a checkup at a doctor's office, said Lindsey Dawson, associate director of HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Other possible scenarios include a transgender man being denied treatment for ovarian cancer, or a hysterectomy not being covered by an insurer — or costing more when the procedure is related to someone's gender transition.
Whether this week's court decision will have any impact on Mr. Severino's new rules will depend on having another lawsuit work its way up to the Supremes. The National Center for Transgender Equality is putting on a brave front, but anything can happen. This week's cases turned on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which deals expressly with employment issues and specifically includes protections against sex discrimination. Health care falls under Title VI of the Act, which does not mention sex discrimination.

Will that be enough for Justices Thomas, Alito and Kavanaugh to lasso Roberts and Gorsuch back to the right-wing corral? It is not as if any of them have a great deal of sympathy for Obamacare to begin with.

Monday, June 15, 2020

This Week's Sneak Peek

I've got another coronavirus-free cartoon coming down the pipeline this week!

No, this guy is not being attacked by mutant COVID-19 viruses over his left shoulder.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Lynched in Duluth

The lynching of three African-American roustabouts, employees of a traveling circus in Duluth, on June 15, 1920 made national headlines.

The local newspaper that day reported that six "negroes" had been arrested for the rape at gunpoint of a "well-known" white girl who was watching the loading of the animals tent. Newspapers gave her age as 17, but she was in fact 19; the initial reporting omitted the detail that she was there with a boyfriend, who was robbed in the course of the crime. A subsequent rumor had it that she was left dead or dying; but at the bottom of the above front page, the Duluth Herald reported that the victim was alive and recovering from her injuries.
Duluth had the first lynching in its history last night.
A crowd estimated anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 bent on avenging the assault on a young West Duluth girl, lynched three negroes held as suspects, two of whom, it is claimed, had confessed to the crime, and a third who was being held as a material witness, hanging them to an electric pole in front of the Shrine auditorium. The mob wrecked police headquarters and wounded several policemen.
The three negroes whose dead bodies are today at Grady and Horgan's undertaking rooms are Isaac McGhee*, age 26, Elmer Jackson, age 20, and Elias Clayton, age 19. McGhee is the only one of the trio who, to the last, claimed innocence of the crime.
The gathering of the mob started early in the evening. It is claimed that a truck on which was the label "city truck" came from the western end of the city shortly after 7 o'clock carrying a gang of young men. Attached to the truck and dragging behind was a long rope. The truck traveled through the streets slowly while those on board shouted, "Come on, fellows, join the necktie party."
Police and firemen attempted to keep the mob out of the police station using non-lethal methods, but to no avail.
Fire hose which was turned on the mob by the fire department, which was called out to disperse the mob, only added to the fury. The mob took the hose out of the hands of the firemen and turned the water on the police. Hundreds of feet of fire hose was destroyed.
Forcing their way into the police station, the mob found McGhie in a first-floor holding cell; the other five suspects were behind bars in a juvenile detention area upstairs. The Duluth Herald account doesn't mention what happened to the other five; wire reports printed elsewhere said that the mob released three of them after a mock trial. Another news story reports that ten other Black employees of the circus were taken from Duluth to a jail in the town of Virginia.

At the site of the lynching, two clergymen, identified as Father W.J. Powers of Sacred Heart Cathedral and Father P.J. Mahoney, "pleaded with the crowd to allow the law to take its course," but were shouted down by the crowd. McGhie, Jackson, and Clayton were hanged one after the other, and the mob eventually dispersed.

A grand jury convened two days later eventually issued 37 indictments against members of the mob, but only three men, Louis Dondino, Carl Hammerberg, and Gilbert Stephenson, would be convicted of rioting. The white men served fifteen months or less. Nobody was ever tried for the murders.

Meanwhile, seven Black employees of the circus were charged with the rape; NAACP-hired lawyers succeeded in getting five of those charges dismissed. One man, Max Mason, was convicted on the charge and served four years at Stillwater State Prison.

Wikipedia notes that Duluth's current Chief of Police is a great-nephew of the rape victim.
"Minnesota's Shame," unsigned, in Chicago Whip, June 26, 1920
And since this here blog is supposed to be dedicated to editorial cartooning, I'll close with the only two examples I could find about this incident. Both appeared in newspapers produced for an African-American readership.
"Is This Democracy?" by James L. McGuire in The Bystander, Des Moines, IA., June 25, 1920
* In later paragraphs of the Herald article, the correct spelling of Isaac McGhie's name is used.