Sunday, February 28, 2021

R.I.P. Bill Sanders

"Put It Back" by Bill Sanders in Milwaukee Journal, July 1, 1971


The family of past AAEC President Bill Sanders announced his passing today.

Editorial cartoonist during his life at the Japan Times (English edition), Greensboro Daily News, Kansas City Star, and Milwaukee Journal, he had time in his busy schedule to give this aspiring cartoonist valuable tips and insight when I was still scribbling on typing paper with ballpoint pen.

Rest In Power, sir!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

February on the Ones

I've used some of these Saturday posts to rehash my own cartoons from 30 years ago, which at this point in the calendar, has led up to Gulf War I. My problem this month is that I've already posted most of my February, 1991 cartoons for one reason or another. The cartoon below may very well be the only one previously unrehashed.

in UW-M Post, Milwaukee, February 12, 1991

So for a theme this week, here are some of my Wisconsin-themed cartoons from 2001 and 2011.

in Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee, February 23, 2001

This cartoon, drawn to accompany an editorial in the Business Journal, has a date written on it of February 16, but so does another Beej cartoon. I don't see a cartoon dated February 23, and I think this one is the one with the wrong date.

At any rate, Chuck Chvala (D-Madison) was the on-and-off Majority Leader in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1995 to 2002 — on at this point in time — and the Business Journal thought that a prescription drug bill in the state legislature was doomed and little more than a partisan ploy. Chvala ended up not looking so heroic when he was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws by having Democratic caucus staff do electioneering work on the state dime.

Quaint, aina?

Now Chvala podcasts political punditry with former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen (R-Waukesha), who had his own run-in with ethics laws.

2011 was a tumultuous year in Wisconsin politics; Scott Walker took office as Governor with a Republican majority in both houses of the state legislature. Backed by an ad blitz from anti-union oligarchs, they launched an all-out assault against public employees (notably excepting the police and fire unions, the only unions to have backed Walker's campaign).

Wisconsin Club for [Cancerous] Growth took the lead in TV and radio advertising. One of their ads highlighted the wage and benefit cuts that unions at various private firms had been forced to swallow during the 2008-2009 economic crash, thanks to management's contempt for their own communities. Mercury Marine, for example, could threaten to close down its Fond du Lac plant and open shop in Bumm Fork, Alabama, instead; but the same can't be done with schools and snowplows, prisons and parole officers. So the voice-over announcer complained that public employee unions were not sharing in privately employed workers' pain:

 "All across Wisconsin, people are making sacrifices to save their jobs: frozen wages, pay cuts and paying more for health care. But state workers haven't had to sacrifice; they pay next to nothing for their pensions and a fraction of their health care. It's not fair. Call your state legislators and tell them to vote for Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill. It's time state employees paid their fair share, just like the rest of us."

It was cute that the folks at Wisconsin Club for [Cancerous] Growth included themselves in "the rest of us."

Act 10, as Walker's "budget repair bill" was officially called, gutted public employee unions' ability to negotiate salaries and benefits, banned those unions from collecting dues from public employees who chose not to belong to the union (but would continue to be included in whatever union contracts would follow). Having made union membership pointless, Act 10 also made mandatory annual recertification votes, further encouraging employees to bust their unions.

All in the name of fixing Republicans' "hole in the state budget."

Well, folks, as appreciation for your indulgence while I wallow down memory lane today, here's a February, 2021 cartoon featuring three members of Wisconsin's illustrious delegation to Washington, D.C.: Congressmen Glenn Grothman and Scott Fitzgerald, and Senator Ron "This Didn't Seem Like an Armed Insurrection to Me" Johnson.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Q Toon: Exceptionalism

The House is expected to vote this week on the Equality Act sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to extend its protections to LGBTQ citizens. President Biden has vowed that signing it into law is one of the first priorities of his administration.

But first, it has to get through the U.S. Senate.

Requblicans object to the bill, claiming that it discriminates against religious people's belief in discriminating against LGBTQ people. They have also raised fears that men in sports will rush to transition to female in order to put women in sports at a competitive disadvantage, or at least to get into the ladies' locker room. And of course, everybody's bathrooms.

Democrats and Requblicans are evenly split in the Senate, and Vice President Kamala Harris could vote in the case of a tie. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was a co-sponsor of the Equality Act in 2019, in case you'd still like to get your unrealistic hopes up for her again. But there doesn't appear to be much likelihood of any other Requblicans supporting the bill; Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rob Portman (R-OH) aren't making any promises, and Mitt Romney (R-UT) declared his opposition just last week.

Since, under current rules, any bill needs to have the support of 60 senators in order to get anywhere, Requblicans can filibuster the Equality Act without lifting a finger. Almost literally. We tend to think of a filibuster as involving some senator speaking for hours on end until he/she collapses from exhaustion. Nowadays, all it takes is 40 votes against a motion to close debate. Actual debate need not even follow.

There used to be a saying that the Senate was the saucer in which the overheated soup from the House was allowed to cool. Now the Senate is the arctic vortex that freezes the whole bowl of soup, a plate of lasagna, a bunch of bananas and the rest of the whole damned kitchen into an impenetrable block of ice.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Impeaching Kenesaw Mountain Landis

Have you had enough of impeachment proceedings yet? If not, you're in luck! 100 years ago this month, there was a move in Congress to impeach Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Judge Landis was a crusty old fellow who had once told a convicted defendant who protested that he wouldn't live long enough to serve his five-year sentence, "You can try, can't you?" Two years after Teddy Roosevelt appointed him Judge of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois, he gained national prominence ruling against Standard Oil of Indiana in an antitrust case, fining the company the equivalent of $800 million in today's money. (His ruling was overturned in higher courts; it was not the only time that happened.) He also oversaw some high-profile draft resistance cases during World War I.

"It Must Be Some Job" by Harry Westerman in Ohio State Journal, Columbus, OH, Feb., 1921

And then there was baseball.

Landis had been the judge asked to rule in a 1915 antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Baseball League against the American and National Leagues; the Federal League ultimately withdrew its case and soon went out of business. Baseball fan Landis let it be known their lawsuit would have been "if not destructive, at least injurious to the game of baseball." 

In the shadow of the Black Sox Scandal, still making its way through the courts, the American and National Baseball Leagues turned to Judge Landis to be their commissioner in November, 1920, offering him a $42,500 salary (around $600,000 in 2021 dollars).

Charging that the leagues' hiring of Judge Landis was tantamount to bribery by "this illegal trust,"  Congressman Benjamin Welty (D-OH) urged Congress to impeach Landis and remove him from the bench:

"Judge Landis has a right to yield to the fleshpots of illegal combination, but he should not bring all our judiciary into ill-repute. If the country approves the dual role of Judge Landis, then the House will be called upon to preserve a new standard for our judiciary, because there are others who would be pleased to employ some judge 'for he is worth any price he might wish to ask."

In the Senate, Nathaniel Dial (D-SC) was also agitating for Landis to be tossed from the bench over the case of a bank clerk accused of embezzling $96,000 from the National City Bank of Ottawa, Illinois. Landis had let the clerk off with a light sentence, reasoning that the bank managers were themselves to blame, having paid the man a measly $90 per month. (According to Wikipedia, Landis issued this ruling in April, 1921, but I'm finding Dial citing the ruling as reason to impeach Landis in newspaper reports two months before that.) 

"That Kill the Umpire Spirit" by Clifford Berryman in Washington Evening Star, Feb. 24, 1921

Landis dismissed both congressmen's allegations, telling a caller, "I'm not worried about this thing. Why, I'm no more interested in this than I am in the appointment of a new bellhop in that hotel across the street."

Welty, a Democrat, had lost his seat in the 1920 Republican landslide, so he would be out of office less than three weeks after moving for Landis's impeachment on February 15, 1921. By the time the 67th Congress adjourned in March, Rep. Welty's impeachment motion had made it no further than a House Judicial Subcommittee, which did refer it favorably to the full committee.

"The Defi" by Harry Murphy for Star Company, ca. March 1, 1921

As far as I can tell, an impeachment trial was never held, although the American Bar Association would eventually vote to censure the judge. Landis resigned from the federal bench in February, 1922, and would remain Commissioner of Baseball for almost a quarter century. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame the year he retired; and his name was on the Most Valuable Player award until last year, when it was removed over his sorry record against integrating the all-White major leagues.

I had considered returning to 1991 for today's blog post, but I found that I have already posted nearly every cartoon from that February in these Saturday retrospectives. I might have instead dug up any cartoons I've drawn about Rush Limbaugh, who shuffled off his fetid coil this week, but in the interest of "De mortuis nil nisi bonum," I just don't feel like it. (Well, if you really must see them, there's a keyword link at the bottom of this post.)

I might have liked to come up with something a propos for African-American History Month, but I just haven't found any cartoons from February, 1921 that aren't cringeworthy. It's not as if there was nothing a cartoonist couldn't have drawn about. The Klan assured the Dallas Express that it wasn't prejudiced against Blacks; White newspapers made sure that if a Black man were accused of a crime, the first word in the headline was "Negro"; and I was starting to think that there winter was a slow season for lynching, until I checked out the Black newspapers.

But, as I said, I found no cartoons about any of that.

So I went back to get a number of cartoons I'd come across about Judge Landis, only to find that quite a few of the websites I rely upon don't seem to be working. This week's weather may be to blame for a couple of them; others I can't explain. Once those sites are up and running again, I may come back and add some  more cartoons here.

Meanwhile, there's still another Saturday this month. Since when did February get to be so long?

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Q Toon: Lindsey Explains It All


I get annoyed by right-wing editorial cartoonists who do little more than illustrate a Republican Talking Point day after day, so I have to apologize for doing the same with a Democratic one.

My cartoon this week is taken almost verbatim from a comment I made on Facebook last week and subsequently saw made and memed by others. If I didn't find Lindsey Graham's duplicity particularly galling, I probably would have left this cartoon undrawn.

Senator Graham was a House trial manager in the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton over aforementioned blow job. On January 16, 1999, then-Representative Graham told Senators:

“When a president gets out of bounds, and doesn't do as he or she should do, constitutionally -- and I would argue that every president and every citizen has a constitutional duty not to cheat another citizen, especially the president -- and they get out of bounds, it is up to us to put them back in bounds or declare it illegal.

"And how do we do that? How do we regulate presidential misconduct when it's done in a presidential fashion? Through the laws and powers of impeachment. That is why we're here today. ...

What's a high crime? How 'bout if an important person hurt somebody of low means? It's not very scholarly, but I think it's the truth. I think that's what they meant by 'high crimes.' Doesn't even have to be a crime. Just when you start using your office and you're acting in a way that hurts people, you've committed a high crime. ...

You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

Democratic House trial managers played Graham's argument at last year's impeachment over that perfect phone call to the President of Ukraine. It didn't sway him from his slavish fealty to Donald Berzelius Trump then, and neither did his momentary revulsion against the events of January 6 this time around.

Dismissing last week's House trial managers' presentation out of hand as "offensive and absurd," Graham went on to blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi for somehow having a hand in the insurrection, and he even threatened to impeach Vice President Kamala Harris over last year's Black Lives Matter riots as soon as Republicans win back the House.

Now that would be offensive and absurd.


Read more here:

Monday, February 15, 2021

Presidents' Day Sneak Peek

"All I can say is that the most potent force in the Republican Party is President Trump. We need Trump-plus and at the end of the day, I’ve been involved in politics for over 25 years, the president is a handful and what happened on January 6th was terrible for the country, but he's not singularly to blame." —Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-EverTrump)

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Your Great-Grandparents Were Not Welcome Here

I'm continuing a train of thought from the past two Saturdays. From consideration of independence for the Philippines, I moved on to the major argument against it, U.S. fears of Japanese expansionism; which led to strains in U.S.-Japanese relations, including immigration restrictions imposed against the Japanese here.

But as noted last week, Americans were less upset about immigration from Asia than they were about immigration from Europe.

"To the Rescue" by Wm. Hanny in St. Joseph News-Press, Jan., 1921

This was mainly due to the relative size of those immigrant populations. Tight restrictions were already in place limiting immigration from the Far East, whereas there were none at all on immigrants coming from Europe. The Great War, moreover, had devastated the economies of Europe far more extensively than that of Japan, motivating more Europeans to gamble on seeking their fortunes on the other side of the Atlantic.

"Holding Back the Tide" by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, Jan., 1921

Alarmed editorial cartoonists gravitated to watery metaphors, much as Louis Dalrymple and others did a generation earlier. Here William Morris depicts what immigration legislation there was as being comically inadequate to stemming a rising tide.

"I Was An-Hungered And Ye Gave Me Meat" by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, Jan., 1921
In the same month, Morris turned around and referenced one of Jesus's parables (Matthew 25:31-46) to scold his hard-hearted fellow citizens for shutting the door against desperate European emigres.

"The Gate Question" by Milton Halladay in Providence Journal, Jan., 1921

Returning to aquatic imagery, Milton Halladay depicts Congress's proposed 14-month immigration embargo as somehow differentiating between Europeans worth admitting into the country from those undeserving.

So what sort of numbers were we talking about, anyway?

"Three Is a Crowd" by Warren in Chicago Tribune, ca. Feb., 1921?

The population of the U.S., according to the 1920 census, was about 106 million, or less than a third of what it is today.
I haven't been able to find this cartoon by Warren in the Chicago Tribune, and I'm not familiar with any Tribune cartoonist by that name. Alonzo "Jack" Warren (1886-1955) did study art in Chicago, among other places, but this signature does not look like his. "Bart" Bartholomew's monthly "Federal News" page in the May, 1921 edition of Cartoons Magazine has a paragraph about a cartoonist named Edwin Warren, but that guy worked in Alabama, not Chicago. I have found at least one other Warren cartoon attributed to the Trib, but so far, nothing about the artist himself.

[Update: He was William S. Warren. See my April 17, 2021 post.]

"Damming the Flood at Its Source" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, January 28, 1921
Bona fide Tribune cartoonist John McCutcheon cites an unemployment figure of 3 million. Contributing to that number was the urbanization of the country, due to migration from farms to cities as well as new arrivals from abroad. Soldiers returning from the war found their jobs occupied by people who had stayed home; and although some reclaimed their jobs from women who had taken their place, that was not the case for all.

"Just As Though We Couldn't Put It Up Again" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, February 2, 1921

And yet, the U.S. economy was in an expansionary phase. The Senate's "Men Wanted" sign was shared by much of industry in the country. But resentment built up steam in the labor force against newcomers who were perceived as driving down wages.

"We Used to Think It Belonged to Us" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, February 16, 1921

Of course, this was all before unemployment compensation was a thing here. Some cartoonists accepted the notion that at least some portion of the unemployed were jobless by choice. I'm going to have to post a trigger warning about this next cartoon; I can't imagine any editor today—not even at Rupert Murdoch's New York Post—green-lighting this ghastly idea:

"Our Own Ku Klux Klan" by Alfred G. "Zere" Ablitzere in New York Evening Post, ca. Jan., 1921

As gobsmackable as this Zere cartoon is today, how likely is it that today's cartoons making light of Q Anon will seem equally tone-deaf a century from now?

But more to the point of today's post, blaming immigrants for depressing wages has to be included as one factor in the rise of the Klan in the 1920's. Persecution of Black Americans remained its principal focus, but hatred of immigrants — Jews and Catholics in particular — occupied its spare time.

"A Serious Matter" by Orville P. Williams for Star Co., ca. Feb. 10, 1921

Not that those immigrants had to come to the U.S. in person to earn American resentment, as this cartoon favoring a raise in tariffs illustrates. 

I do wonder why some editor thought it necessary to add the ill-fitting word "promiscuous" to the "imported mdse. from Europe."

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Q Toon: Lgbt And Found

While the Senate is busy deciding whether anyone gets to hold a president accountable for inciting a riot in a desperate attempt to overturn an election, I have chosen instead to wrap up another story thread from the previous administration.

Back in 2017, when that previous administration abruptly erased the White House's LGBT web page, I created the character of a guy in charge of the office of that administration's LGBt Liaison.

Drawing his cramped closet-cum-office was easy in four-panel format; a later single-panel episode presented me with the challenge of filling the space with all sorts of props: chemical buckets, a hand-cart, a roll of insulation, and so on and so forth. Separated from the boiler room only by a beaded curtain, the nameless liaison had by then taken to working in his underwear, and even the janitor was surprised to find he hadn't left.

As the then Ambassador to Germany adopted the role of the administration's LGBt Liaison as one of his many side jobs, Basement Dude quietly disappeared from my cartoons. Which was unfortunate. Surely he could have helped explain that administration's sustained assault on transgender Americans. Or its various antigay judicial appointments. Or opening loopholes in LGBTQ non-discrimination policies you could drive a church bus through.

Politico editorial cartoonist Matt Wuerker hosted an on-line discussion about how to draw Joe Biden, titled "For Cartoonists, It's All About the Smile." In a Facebook thread, I noted that it was the same with Jimmy Carter — until he got into office, everything got serious, and we all had to learn how to draw him not smiling.

As you can see, I've ducked the issue of how to draw Joe Biden not smiling. For now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Trump's Legal Team Present Their Opening Arguments

But seriously...

Part of Trump's lawyers' argument yesterday was that although a president doesn't enjoy a "January Exception," once you impeach a president who is out of office, the process becomes inherently political. Any ex-president, they say, could be impeached by any Congress of the opposite party.

The alternative to impeachment, however, would be to charge an ex-president with a criminal offense in court. We've just had a president who regarded the Justice Department as his own personal errand boy; we have seen how someone as mentally and constitutionally unhinged as Donald J. Trump can overcome all the obstacles our Founding Fathers set in his way and get elected to the presidency. It CAN happen here, again.
In what way would having the Attorney General file charges against a former president of the opposite party be seen as any less political?

Monday, February 8, 2021

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Well, another Superbowl has come and gone, and the highlights of the game were The Weeknd's dance squad wearing jock straps over their faces, and this guy.


Now, I don't know if you can rightly call him a "streaker," since a moon shot lasting barely a second hardly qualifies as streaking. But I guess the label "idiot" fits, even in Spanish, since he went into his slide just short of the goal line.

But at least he livened up the game well beyond the point that anybody cared whether the hapless Kansas City Chiefs would ever make it into the end zone either.

As is usually the case with idiots like this, he was out there advertising some website that couldn't afford a TV commercial during the game. I hope, however, that they paid him more than the fine he's going to end up playing, plus whatever income loss he'll suffer when the hospital wherever he works suspends him without pay.

This Week's Sneak Peek

I've got another sequel cartoon coming up this week; but instead of reposting one of the earlier cartoons today, here's a pencil rough of the cartoon-to-be.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

See If I Care

 You can shut down his twitter account, but you can't take away his stationery!

Saturday, February 6, 2021

A Rising Tide Lifts All Battleships

Last Saturday, I promised to come back to the issue of Japan and the U.S. beefing up their navies in the wake of World War I. Great Britain was in on the arms race as well, and plenty of war-weary civilians were less than happy about it.

"They're Off" by David Low in London Star, by January, 1921 

Once you start binging on military hardware, it's awfully hard to stop. It's like an addiction, overwhelming rational thought. The three nations had been allies in the Great War, but were behaving as if each other were bitter enemies.
Detail from "Cartoons of the Day" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, ca. Dec. 17, 1920

John McCutcheon's fellow cartoonist at the Tribune, Carey Orr, would make the same point in his own cartoon a few weeks later but leave Great Britain out of it (see last Saturday's post). Although drawn later, I think Orr's cartoon did the better job of illustrating the futility of an arms race.
"Let's Take the Limit Off" by John Knott in Dallas News, Jan., 1921

John Knott attributes the three countries' build-up to Wilson's Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels. Republican-leaning cartoonists could easily characterize the American naval build-up as a folly of the outgoing Democratic administration, even if they had been among those decrying U.S. lack of "readiness" four years earlier.
"The Roots" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, Jan. 27, 1921

(Or, in the case of Carey Orr, drawing this shortly after decrying the arms race.)

"Have a Heart Sam" by Arthur G. Racey in Montreal Daily Star, Jan./Feb., 1921

This Canadian cartoonist seems to agree with Knott that the U.S. is to blame for the naval arms race. Canada (including Qu├ębec) being a part of the United Kingdom, perhaps Mr Racey was obliged to lay primary responsibility on the U.S. for the three-way naval buildup in deference to his overlords from across the Atlantic. I'm afraid I don't have an example of how cartoonists on Canada's Pacific coast viewed the Japanese aspect of this arms race.
"Der Letzte Krieg Ist Vorbei," unsigned, in Nebelspalter, Zurich, ca. Feb. 1921
So I'll settle for this Swiss cartoonist, who relegates Great Britain to the sidelines.

"Another Good Reason for Disarmament" by Wm. C. Morris for Geo. Matthew Adams Service, Jan. 1921

But naval supremacy in the Pacific was not the only issue driving a wedge between Japan and the U.S.

"Sitting Tight" by Harold J. Wahl in Sacramento Bee, Jan., 1921

California's Alien Land Law went into effect in December, 1920, expressly prohibiting Chinese and Japanese resident aliens from either purchasing or leasing agricultural property. Legal discrimination against East Asians was nothing new, nor exclusive to California:

 In Oregon's 1859 constitution, it stated that no "Chinaman" could own property in the state, and it protected specifically the rights of "white foreigners" the same property owning rights as enjoyed by native citizens. The territory of Washington passed legislation in 1886 in response to the spreading anti-Chinese unrest in the territory that prohibited aliens ineligible for citizenship from property rights. The Washington legislature added a statute to their constitution in 1889 written more broadly, declaring that one had to declare the intent to naturalize "in good faith" to be eligible for property ownership, which meant that the applicant had to be eligible for naturalization, and Asian immigrants were not eligible. When California re-wrote its constitution in 1879, it limited land ownership to aliens of the "white race or of African descent," the same language used to limit naturalization in 1870. The 1870 Naturalization Act had removed the "white" only restriction on citizenship that had been in force since 1790 and expanded naturalization rights to anyone of African descent. This meant that if an applicant was neither white, nor of African descent, they were not eligible for naturalization. The coded language targeting "aliens ineligible for citizenship" became a legal way that individual states could limit the rights of Asian immigrants without targeting a group racially in the language of the law. 

"How Can Japan Doubt Our Friendship" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, Jan. 20, 1921

California's 1920 Alien Land Law was designed to close loopholes in earlier anti-Japanese legislation, and would serve as a model for other western states. When Japan protested the discriminatory intent of the law as being a violation of existing treaties between Japan and the U.S., California members of the U.S. House of Representatives proposed replacing California's law with a federal statute prohibiting all resident aliens from acquiring agricultural land.
"Why Get So Excited About the Little Fellow" by Parmalee in Nashville Tennessean, Jan., 1921

Anti-Japanese legislation stretched eastward as far as Minnesota and Florida, but you really can't let any part of the U.S. off the hook discrimination-wise. The 1920's were a period of intense anti-immigrant fervor all across the country, a topic to which I'll turn soon. And, it being African-American History Month, let's not forget that lynching, housing discrimination, and other institutional racism knew no state boundaries, and 1921 would see the nation's most horrific ever paroxysm of White terrorism against an entire Black neighborhood.

But today's post is about U.S.-Japan relations, so let's return to the topic at hand.

"Look at the Size of It" by Haydon Jones in New York Evening Post, Feb., 1921

Yap is a small island group about 700 miles east of the Philippines. After the Spanish-American War, Spain had sold Yap to Germany; then, after World War I, the Treaty of Versailles awarded it as a mandate to Japan. In the waning days of the Wilson administration, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby protested to the League of Nations that the U.S. did not recognize Japanese sovereignty over the islands. As it happens, they happened to be a critical telegraph cable crossing linking the U.S., Australia, Pacific islands, and Far East Asia, back when telegrams were the primary vehicle for international communication.

"As Much Privacy as a Gold Fish" by Harry Murphy for Star Company, ca. Jan. 8, 1921

While the U.S. did have certain rights as a World War I belligerent power, its outsider status at the League left it without much leverage in the Yap Scrap. Yap would remain part of the Empire of Japan until the end of World War II; it is now part of Micronesia. 

"Hello, Japan" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, Jan., 1921

Finally, there was the fatal shooting of U.S. naval officer Lt. Warren H. Langdon by a Japanese sentry  in Vladivostok, Russia on January 8, 1921. Returning to the U.S.S. Albany around 4:00 a.m., Lt. Langdon was confronted by a Japanese sentry and shot in the back when he attempted to continue on his way. As with Yap, the U.S. did not recognize Japanese jurisdiction in Russian territory, complaining that this was only the most serious example of Japanese harassment of Americans there. Anxious not to make relations between the two countries worse than they already were, Japan court-martialed the sentry, issued regretful apologies to the U.S. government, and promised reparations. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Q Toon: Setting the Homosexual Agenda

I'd like to take a moment here to make a heartfelt plea to everyone in media — news, social, and otherwise:

Stop calling them "conspiracy theories."

They are no more "theories" than are magic dragons, flat Earths, midichlorians, or the millions that a Nigerian prince promised to send you.

Theories, while not proven facts themselves, must be based on observable, agreed-upon facts. And when they are disproven, they must be rejected.

What we have from Q-Anon are conspiracy fantasies. Conspiracy myths. Conspiracy scams. Conspiracy bullshit.

The conspiracy creed of a conspiracy cult, if you will.

Whose followers will continue to believe in it even after it is found to be a practical joke played by a pair of NYU sophomores.

Monday, February 1, 2021

This Week's Backward Peek

In lieu of the usual snippet from this week's upcoming cartoon, here's a look back at a cartoon from three years ago.

You remember Donald Trump's big Soviet-style military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, of course. It was in all the non-fake media...