Saturday, October 30, 2021

WisconsInStep Cartoons

Paul "Dear Ruthie" Masterson writes about LGBTQ+ issues for the Milwaukee monthly Shepherd Express. In his October column on LGBTQ History Month, he reported on the efforts to preserve LGBTQ+ history in Wisconsin, including photographs and publications.

So, in the interest of doing my part to keep the past alive, I'm posting a handful of Wisconsin-LGBTQ-issue cartoons I drew for InStep News in the latter half of the 1990's.

in InStep News, Sept. 18-Oct. 1, 1996

This cartoon about Wisconsin's Democratic senior Senator and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act wasn't the first one I had printed in InStep, but with it, my cartoons became a regular feature.  

InStep was one of two rival LGBTQ+ newspapers published in Milwaukee in those days. InStep and Wisconsin Light published on alternating weeks, the former in magazine format, the latter as a tabloid, both on newsprint. (InStep converted to tabloid format with the May 29, 1997 Pride issue.)

in InStep News, Jan. 22-Feb. 7, 1997

This cartoon got a fair amount of reaction; a representative of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, ARCW (now Vivent Health), wrote a letter to InStep to correct what she called the cartoon's "serious misinterpretation." 

Distribution by the state of Wisconsin of federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS funds had been cut from nine independent agencies that year to five, a major portion going to the ARCW. I don't think I can claim credit for subsequent Wisconsin's re-examination of its allocation of Ryan White funds, which ARCW participated in and fully supported.

I've told this story before, but I got the idea for this cartoon from my first night sleeping over with the man who is now my better half. I was the one hogging the blankets by morning.

March 20-April 2, 1997

The face of Republicans' Wisconsin iteration of a "Defense of Marriage Act" was that of State Rep. Lorraine Serrati (R-Spread Eagle, yes, that's a real place), who sponsored AB 104 to prohibit Wisconsin from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. Although the federal DOMA was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton a year earlier, a court ruling in Hawai'i raised the possibility that same-sex marriage might become legal in the Aloha State.

May 1-15, 1997

It didn't, but AB 104's opponents, led by Assembly Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison, now U.S. Senator) and Barbara Notestein (D-Milwaukee), charged that Ms. Serrati's bill was divisive and redundant, in that the Wisconsin Constitution already defined marriage as between a "husband" and a "wife," and futile in that the Democratic majority in the State Senate was unlikely to bring the issue to a vote.

Democrats also viewed it as a cynical attempt by Republicans to expand their narrow majority in the Assembly; Rep. Baldwin told In Step, "What my colleagues fear is the 30-second radio or TV ad in their next election campaign, which proclaims that they support ho-mo-sex-u-al marriage." 

in InStep, March 19-April 1, 1998
Serrati was hardly alone in pushing antigay legislation. State Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Rep. Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater, now a state Senator) were among thirteen legislators behind Assembly and Senate bills to deny health insurance coverage to domestic partners of state and local government employees. The bills came in response to the Madison school district offering domestic partnership ("DP") benefits.

Again, the Democratic majority in the state Senate weren't interested in passing that legislation along to Governor Thompson. On the other hand, two of the bills' co-sponsors, Fitzgerald and Glenn Grothman, are now U.S. Congresslugs.

in InStep, June 12-26, 1997
After first pledging to the Wisconsin gay Republicans group that he would not discriminate against lesbians and gays in hiring his congressional staff, Congresswyrm Mark Neumann (R-WI1) completely backtracked when asked about it at a Christian Coalition meeting in La Crosse. "If someone walks in to me and says, 'I'm a gay person, I want a job in your office,' I would say that's inappropriate and they wouldn't be hired because that would mean they are promoting their agenda."

The other people in my cartoon are real Wisconsin persons. Scott Evertz, on the left, was head of the Log Cabin of Wisconsin; he would later be George W. Bush's Director of the White House Office of AIDS Policy for about a year. 

On the right, Rev. Ralph Ovadal of Wisconsin Christians United, was and is an extreme right-wing pastor; his church in Monroe is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group. In addition to LGBTQ+ rights, he actively opposes nude beaches, women's reproductive rights, modern Bible translations, and the Roman Catholic Church.

in Q·Voice, September, 1997

In 1995, Jorge Cabal, life and business partner of InStep publisher William Attewell, launched Q·Voice, a feature magazine; this was months before they bought InStep from its founder, Ron Geiman. Q·Voice was published separately from InStep for a time, but within three years was folded back into it as an insert, then as an integrated section within the newspaper. 

I drew this caricature of  John Norquist for Q·Voice as a full-page illustration for an interview of then Mayor of Milwaukee. Time magazine had recently run its own glowing profile of Mr. Norquist, so I referenced that in the illustration.

In the spring of 1998, David Bianco, then publisher of Q Syndicate, contacted me interested in syndicating my cartoons nationally, an opportunity I was happy to accept. It came with the stipulation that my LGBTQ+ cartoons would be exclusively for Q Syndicate (a provision that never caused conflict with my concurrent cartooning for the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee).

Bianco promptly withheld my cartoons from InStep, charging that Attewell was behind in paying for Q Syndicate features.

From my standpoint, that could hardly have come at a worse time. Immensely popular Green Bay Packers star defensive end Reggie White had just gobsmacked Wisconsin politicians by attacking LGBTQ+ people in a rambling hour-long speech to a joint session of the legislatures.

As reported by William Attewell & Keith Clark:
"We have allowed sin to run rampant in our nation, and because we have, that is why our nation is in the condition that it is in," White told the legislators, saying that homosexuality was "one of the biggest sins."
White told the Wisconsin lawmakers that "homosexuality is a decision, not a race," and should not be protected under civil rights legislation the way race and ethnic minorities are.
How could I possibly not draw about that? And not have my cartoon seen anywhere in Packer Land?
in InStep, April 16-30, 1998

The issue between InStep and Q Syndicate was resolved within a few weeks, and what came out of it all was that InStep was grandfathered as an exception to the syndicate's LGBTQ+ content exclusivity clause. "Things to Do Today" would be my last editorial cartoon drawn specifically for InStep, although I did draw them a couple Pridefest Issue cover illustrations after this.

The only other time I sent InStep a local-issue editorial cartoon before the paper folded in 2003 was in July of 1999. Actually, it only involved changing a bit of the dialogue in a cartoon drawn for Q Syndicate. The cartoon was about Milwaukee's Common Council approving a registry for same-sex couples; but where the rest of the country read "the religious right," my special version for InStep had the name of a local person.

in InStep, July 29-August 11, 1999

(The other version of the cartoon is here.)

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Q Toon: A Broom of Her Own

It's time for every editorial cartoonist to crank out his or her Hallowe'en-themed cartoon, whether it has a Great Pumpkin, trick-or-treaters, vampires, Frankenstein monsters, headless horsemen, Steve Bannon, or — clearly my favorite —take-offs on classic Charles Addams cartoons.

I'm not riffing on the Addams Family cartoons today (the current movie release hasn't promised me any kickbacks, so why would I?); I have instead adapted one of his other toons to star Congresscreature Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) over her recent gratuitous tweet attacking U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, Rachel Levine.

Earlier this year, Greene showed off her smartassery by posting an anti-antitransgender placard outside her office, across the hall from a member of Congress who has a transgender daughter. Greene stubbornly deadnames transgender persons great and small, and cited her belief in a strict, immutable dichotomy of genders as reason to legislate against U.S. embassies ever flying pride flags.

Frankly, I could have made this cartoon about several others of Greene's ilk, including Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Tucker Carlson (oh, but I just drew him last week), and the right-wing echo chamber in general, since the command from wherever they get their orders from was to pile on Adm. Levine last week.

Add to that just about every Requblican-majority state legislature in the country, scrambling to mount a full-bore assault on every aspect of life for transgender citizens, from sports to bathrooms to health care to voting rights to whatever they think of next. Critical Gender Theory in our county parks, I suppose.

No wonder China is laughing at us.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Let's See Whether the Old Folks Notice

Leafing through the Sunday comic pages of the Kenosha-Racine News-Journal-Times today, I noticed that "Macanudo" by Liniers had been replaced by Brad Anderson's "Marmaduke."

I hadn't seen any notice that the combined newspapers, printed way off in Indiana, were dropping "Macanudo," so I dug last Sunday's comic page out of Dad's recycling box to check whether Linier's comic was in it. It was...

...but the odd thing in the October 17 edition was that Stephan Pastis's "Pearls Before Swine" was included twice.

Are they just getting careless at Lee Enterprise's print factory in Munster, or are they intentionally trying to find out what changes they can get away with without their aging readership raising a fuss?

The "Pearls" on the left page above took the place of the late Charles Schulz's "Peanuts"; I'm guessing that even in reruns, "Peanuts" still appeals to more of the over-80 crowd than Stephan Pastis's elaborate, boomer-centric puns.

As for "Macanudo," it's a cartoon that often puzzles Dad, and my mother never liked at all. The Journal Times ran "Marmaduke" for years before Lee started publishing one comics page for both the Racine and Kenosha newspapers, so most older readers were quite used to it. (I don't remember whether "Marmaduke" had previously been in the Kenosha News.

Dad hadn't noticed the switch today; he's much more aware of when the crossword puzzle has been a repeat.

Is anyone complaining? I don't know, and I'm not going to check.

I've been to the Journal Times comments section before, and man, you really do not want to get caught in that cesspool.

Toon: Upon a Falling Star

I decided to try my hand at a few PhotoShop tools and play around with layers in a Just For The Helluvit cartoon.

It is Inktober, after all.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Auf Wiedersehn to Arms

To follow up on last Saturday's post on U.S. domestic issues 100 years ago this month, here are some of the foreign affairs popping up in the news in October, 1921. Let's start with an Aussie cartoonist:

"The Disarmament Conference" by Will Donald, for Federated Press and Australian Worker, October, 1921

Washington D.C. was gearing up to host a big disarmament conference with European powers, China, and Japan in November.

I'm a little puzzled by the "Harding Hot Air" paper on the table in this cartoon, and I wonder if it might be an addition by an American editor. The man at the head of the table bears no resemblance to President Harding, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, or Secretary of War John Weeks. He bears a slight resemblance to Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes, except that P.M. Hughes sported a mustache.

Federated Press was headquartered in Chicago, and provided news coverage and features to labor and socialist publications from 1920 to 1946. Aussie Will Donald's wide-ranging cartooning career included drawing for the Australian Worker (published 1890-1950), the newspaper of the Australian Workers' Union.

"You Folks Can't Take That Junk Aboard..." by Leo Bushnell for Central Press Features, ca. Oct. 15, 1921
A primary focus of the conference was on participants' interests in East Asia and the Pacific. Japan was interested in formalizing a sphere of influence that included Siberia, Mongolia, Tsingtao, Manchuria, and Pacific islands such as Yap. Great Britain, France, Portugal, and the Netherlands, on the other hand, with their colonial possessions in south and east Asia, wanted Japan kept in check. 
"The Same Thing All the Others Are Saying..." by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Collier's, Oct. 15, 1921

The gender of "Ding" Darling's Mrs. National Pride notwithstanding, many historians say that western nations' extending the vote to women was a significant factor in pushing arms control to the fore.

The American public certainly viewed the primary goal of the conference as reducing armaments, and it indeed kept the naval arms race among the U.S., Great Britain, and Japan from getting completely out of hand. It produced the first multilateral arms agreement among nations, and the conference is generally viewed as a success.

It also established Japan as a major naval and colonial power in the region, allowing it to build a navy to rival those of Great Britain and the U.S., and larger than either those of France or Italy.

"He's Better Off on Board" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, Sept., 1921

According to McCutcheon, Japanese and European eagerness to secure their empires in the Far East was reason enough for the United States to continue its occupation of the Philippines. Sure, it was in direct violation of the Monroe Doctrine, but we couldn't allow some other country to take over our colony!

A number of postwar issues still remained to be settled within Europe, starting with shoving Germany's eastern borders westward.

"Völkerbundsrat" by Hans-Maria Lindloff in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, Oct. 30, 1921

This cartoon is a hoot, coming from a cartoonist living in a (formerly) colonial power. I'd lay even odds that Kaiser Wilhelm would have had difficulty locating Yap on a globe despite making decisions for the locals in what was then a German possession.

Upper Silesia had been the southeasternmost corner of Germany prior to the Treaty of Versailles; since then (except during World War II), nearly all of it is on Poland's southern border.

"A Persistent Romeo" by William Hanny in St. Joseph News-Press, Oct. 24, 1921

Since we last checked in on postwar Hungary, its communist government had been overthrown in 1919 by Romanian troops, who were in turn succeeded by a homegrown military government — which promptly clamped down on communists, socialists, labor unions, immigrants, and, quelle surprise, Jews. The new government declared Hungary a kingdom once again. 

An unemployed former emperor, Karl Hapsburg, twice applied for the job of King of Hungary; but in the face of threatened invasion by Hungary's neighbors, the job went instead to Miklós Horthy, an admiral in the Austro-Hungarian navy, who reigned as regent until 1946. Karl was instead exiled to Madeira, where he died the following April at age 34.

"Since Nobody's Lookin'" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Public Ledger, Oct. 7, 1921

Meanwhile, back where the whole Great War Mess started, the various southern Slavs still were busy stirring up trouble. The 1920s would be marked with a series of Balkan War flare-ups as the various ethnic groups scattered amongst each other in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire's southern territories fought for local supremacy.

"Auch ein Tod fürs Vaterland" by Erich Schilling in Simplicissimus, Munich, Oct. 12, 1921

But the world had just fought a War To End All Wars, so there really wasn't anything to worry about, was there?

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Q Toon: From Here to Paternity

Fox Noise talking head Tucker Carlson recently got his panties all in a wad because Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was taking some time off from work to join husband Chasten raising their newborn twins.

“Paternity leave, they call it," Carlson sniffed, "trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went.”

Buttigieg took Carlson's crap in stride.

“Well, look, in his case, I guess he just doesn’t understand the concept of bottle feeding, let alone the concept of paternity leave,” he said.

“But what is really strange is that, you know, this is from a side of the aisle that used to claim the mantle of being pro-family,” Buttigieg added. “What we have right now is an administration that’s actually pro-family. And I’m blessed to be able to experience that as an employee, being able to have the flexibility to take care of our newborn children, which is, by the way, work. It’s a joyful work. It’s wonderful work, but it’s ― it’s definitely work.”

Buttigieg further explained that there is this thing called the internet, which allows him to keep abreast of any developments at the Transportation Department, including supply chain bottlenecks and the Build Back Better But With Coal So Joe Manchin Might Vote For It Bill. He only took six weeks off, so he has since returned to work (and to the Sunday Morning Talk Shows).

Carlson's swipe at the Buttiegieg family, echoed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Noisemax, and others of their right-wing ilk, is just another example of the stuck-in-the-1950's thinking we've come to expect from the Republican Party these days.

Carlson's sad implication "breastfeeding" is the only significant task for people who have children ― an especially depressing take from a father of four ― does a disservice to all parents, of all genders and sexualities.

When men do take parental leave, research shows they see it as an overwhelmingly positive experience, reducing the professional risk for both them and their partner, increasing their bond with their child, and strengthening their relationship. As part of a gay couple, Buttigieg's example in taking leave is particularly significant.

And, as many others have pointed out, Fox Noise itself offers paid paternity leave to its employees, and they greatly appreciate it in spite of the diaper changes and nose fridas.

 I cannot thank Fox enough for providing all fathers who work here with such a generous paternity leave. This experience has changed me in a profound way and in ways I won’t fully comprehend until my daughter is older. But for now – that smile coming from the crib each morning, immediately followed by morning snuggles – is what I will cherish the most. There is nothing better. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

This Week's Sneak Peek

Can I just say here how much I love having a "beat" frame in a multi-panel cartoon?

That's the panel — usually the second-to-last one — in which the characters pause to take in what happened or was said in the previous panel. There's no dialogue, corresponding to the "beat" taken in comedy before springing the punch line on the audience.

Being left-handed, I almost always ink the penultimate panel, down there on the left side of the bottom row of a four-panel cartoon, last.

Gosh, I love not having to do any more lettering by the time I get down there.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

October Affairs: Domestic

Hey, kids! It's time to catch up on all the domestic national news from October, 1921!

We'll start with something that seems as relevant today as ever, because, like the weather, everybody talks about it but nobody ever does anything about it.

"Rather Late Canning Time..." by Clifford Berryman in Washington (DC) Evening Star, Oct. 13, 1921

It was Republicans who had complete control of the White House and both houses of Congress in 1921. But the filibuster was a favorite tactic of senators from southern states — Democrats in those days — who would thwart an anti-lynching bill throughout the entire 67th Congress. 

Other legislation killed by filibusters from both parties during that congressional session included the Harding administration's ship subsidy bill, a Railroad Refunding bill, the Rogers Foreign Service bill, the "Blue Sky" securities regulation bill, the Radio Regulation bill, and a Statute Codification bill.

"So Near, And Yet" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Public Ledger, Oct. 10, 1921

If getting legislation passed was easier said than done, so was breaking Americans' alcohol habit. Prohibition was in its second year, and not only were folks learning how to brew hooch in their private basements, but since not every home has its own basement, a thriving black market in liquor had sprouted up across the country in major cities and small towns.

"Autumn Leaves..." by Ted Brown in Chicago Daily News, by Oct. 27, 1921

Ted Brown's consumers look mighty happy with their crop, for now. Who that fellow is back there saying "Never again," I'm afraid I can't tell.

"Is He Worth It?" by John Cassel in New York Evening World, Oct. 19, 1921

The major national story of October was a threatened strike by railroad workers for better pay and working conditions. This was three decades before the interstate highway system; trains, not trucks, were primarily responsible for transporting goods across the country, as well as for passenger travel and mail delivery.  

"There's a Limit to All Things" by Albert Levering in New York Tribune, Oct. 23, 1921

Railroad corporations demanded significant cuts in wages and benefits to their workers in 1921, and also increased farming out work to non-union sub-contractors. Five major unions indicated they were all set to go out on strike, but the Railroad Labor Board ordered union leaders to keep their workers on the job. After the Board consented to delay Interstate Commerce Commission orders to slash half of the increases workers had enjoyed during World War I, union members voted to cancel the strike.

It was only a temporary peace, kicking the can down the railroad; the unions would go on strike within a year when that pay cut delay ended.

"Ford Shows the Way" by John Baer in Nonpartisan Leader, Fargo ND, Oct. 31, 1921

As peculiar bedfellows as they may have been, leftist former Congressman John Baer (Nonpartisan League-ND) here holds up right-wing Republican Henry Ford as an example for how to run a railroad. Baer cartooned for the National Railroad Union newspaper Labor as well as the Nonpartisan League's official paper (which was published in Minneapolis as the National Leader after the October 31, 1921 issue).

Looking to improve supply and distribution lines for his auto plant in Dearborn, Ford bought the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad in 1920, modernizing and transforming it, in the words of railroad historian William Pletz, "from a streak of rust into an extremely efficient and profitable operation, the likes of which has or will seldom be seen in this country." 

Under Ford, DT&I employees made higher wages than others in the industry. He also launched an electrification program for the railway, which was, however, abandoned after he sold the DT&I (at a hefty profit) to a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1929.

John Baer in Nonpartisan Leader, Fargo, Oct. 31, 1921
Baer (not William Morris) here accuses President Harding of trying to break up the Nonpartisan League's alliance between farmers and laborers, Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party being the last vestige of the movement. Republican efforts to gin up farmers' resentment of organized labor have been remarkably successful, even in ostensibly Democratic Minnesota.

"Th' Hog" by William Sykes in Philadelphia Public Ledger, Oct. 3, 1921

Oh, and the World Series was held in October, but it was the New York Yankees vs. the New York Giants, so nobody beyond the outer boroughs really cared all that much.

(Just kidding. Even game 4 getting rained out made banner headlines across the country. And the Giants took the series five games to three.) 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Q Toon: Filth!

Jon Gruden may be gone, but Mark Robinson, the Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, is not backing down from incendiary remarks against the LGBTQ+ community. Last Tuesday, People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch Project posted video of a political sermon Robinson had delivered at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove back in June:

“There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth,” Robinson says. “Yes, I called it filth. And if you don’t like it that I called it filth, come see me and I’ll explain it to you.”

Continuing his tirade at Upper Room COGIC in Raleigh in August, Robinson called transgender rights "demonic," and that any discussion of it in schools is "dragging our kids down into the pit of Hell."

If anti-LGBTQ bigotry were Robinson's only fault, the Charlotte Observer might not have described his views as "cringeworthy" and "an embarrassment." On other subjects, he has claimed that the movie Black Panther was "created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by [a] satanic Marxist" that was "only created to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets"; called former President Obama "a worthless, anti-American atheist"; and charged that COVID-19 was a "globalist" conspiracy to defeat Donald Trump.

Robinson is a Republican, which, if you've read this far, should hardly come as a surprise. The Governor, Roy Cooper, is a Democrat, which would make for some strained relations between their offices even if Robinson weren't such a crazed demagogue. Republicans criticized Cooper earlier this year for not mentioning newly elected Robinson, the state's first African-American Lt. Governor, in his State of the State address.

The recent shenanigans in Idaho demonstrate why our country's founding fathers quickly switched to having President and Vice President run together on the same ticket (originally, the presidential candidate who came in second got to be Veep as a consolation prize). Having the top two executive officers working at cross purposes is a recipe for mischief and instability.

According to the state website, North Carolina's Lt. Governor does get to take over the Governor's duties in the event of the Governor's "absence, death or incapacitation."

One hopes that Governor Cooper keeps his executive order stationery locked up, and a very secure computer password set up, whenever he ventures across state lines.

Monday, October 11, 2021

This Week's Sneak Peek

Happy Canadian Thankscoming Indigenous National Pope Columbus Out John Giving XXIII Day, Peoples! Here's a bit of the preliminary pencil roughs from my sketchbook over the weekend.

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists held our annual convention by Zoom on Friday and Saturday, and I was able to take in a bit of it for a change. It was good to have exchange with others in the Opinionated Toon Biz.

In one forum I attended, "Cartooning in the Age of Doom," panelists shared their experiences of working amid coronavirus constraints and constrictions of the newspaper industry. As someone who has had very minimal conversation with fellow editorial staff for a decade and a half, I was interested to know how others are getting along with the new work-from-home standard.

For the free-lancers, the advent of COVID-19 didn't change their work habits greatly. Kevin Necessary had just moved into an office at the Cincinnati Enquirer when suddenly everyone had to work from home. Scott Stantis had already accepted a buy-out from the Chicago Tribune, but keeps in touch with select trusted colleagues as a sounding board. 

What everyone seemed to agree on was that the Ground Hog's Day nature of the coronavirus pandemic (and the intransigence of Republicans who aid and abet its spread) has been a real strain on finding anything new to say about it. (And when Stantis was seriously ill with the virus himself, he had an assistant who was able to keep Prickly City going for him.)

Well, happily, my cartoon this week is about something else.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

October on the Ones

I lead this Saturday Flashback with an unpublished cartoon I drew after Herblock died 20 years ago this past Thursday. The cartoon references several Herblock cartoons and recurring characters. I was tempted to put together a retrospective of his over 70-year career today — the man published cartoons almost up to the day he died — but you can visit the Library of Congress's exhibit of his work, or buy the book.

So rather than incur the wrath of the Herblock Foundation, I herewith present a smattering of the other cartoons Little Ol' I drew in Octobers of 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011. Let's start with the little oldest:

in UW-Parkside Ranger, Oct. 1, 1981

President Reagan had an advertisement on TV, if I remember correctly, urging viewers to call their congressional representatives to express their belief in Reagan's "bipartisan economic recovery plan" —i.e., tax cuts. (Finding a few Democrats willing to sign on to a Republican bill was an easier lift than the opposite is nowadays, especially since there were Democrats to choose from who would soon start calling themselves Republicans.) For the moment, however, the stock market appeared shaky, and a recession was indeed around the corner.

There must be over 100 horizontal lines in that cartoon, all painstakingly drawn by hand. The thick ones behind the window were the most challenging.—

in UW-Parkside Ranger, Oct. 22, 1981

Somewhere along the line, all of my cartoons from the fall of 1981 have somehow gotten mislaid. I still had them a few years ago when I posted one I drew in October, 1981 about the situation in Poland; I had certainly scanned that from the original. The originals aren't where they belong now, so unless Mom or I clipped them for our respective scrapbooks, I have to resort to copying them from the University of Wisconsin Ranger on-line archives, like this one above.

Continuing along to 1991...

in UW-Milwaukee Post, Oct. 3, 1991

Members of the Supreme Court have been at pains lately to deny that they are "partisan hacks." What they cannot deny is that for over half a century, the selection process by which most of them made it onto the Court has been overtly partisan. 

Reacting to civil rights rulings of the 1950's and '60's, conservative partisan hacks have been determined to remake the Court in their own image. Liberal Congresses were able to block the most egregious nominees — Clement Haynsworth, G. Harrold Carswell, Robert Bork — but not right-wingers William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, or, in spite of allegations of sexual harassment, Clarence Thomas, now the most senior Justice on the Court.

in Racine, WI Journal Times, Oct. 17, 1991

Conservatives, for their part, have "Borked" Abe Fortas, Homer Thornberry and Merrick Garland, and pressured presidents of their party to name "No More Souters." Thus we have six currently serving Republican appointees who are all products of the right-wing Federalist Society. I was startled to hear it put this way on NPR this week, but the center of today's Court is no longer Chief Justice John Roberts (himself a conservative George W. Bush pick), but Kevin-Boofing-Kavanaugh!

in Milwaukee WI Business Journal, Oct. 5, 2001

Moving right along to 2001, the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee wrote an editorial critical of labor lawyers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. I drew a silly cartoon to go along with it.

for Q Syndicate, October, 2001

Of course, there were weightier issues in the fall of 2001 than genii safety. The Bush II administration was about to launch a 20-year war in Afghanistan, so naturally, the Christian Right weighed in with their reservations... about the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Romania.

As with Bill Clinton's appointment of James Hormel to be Ambassador to Luxembourg, antigay groups such as the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America opposed Bush The Younger's appointment of Michael E. Guest as Ambassador to Romania. But unlike with Hormel, the Senate approved Guest's appointment. Also unlike Hormel, who was pressured into promising not to bring his then partner to Luxembourg, Guest's partner, Alex Nevarez, moved into the ambassador's residence with him — with Secretary of State Colin Powell's explicit blessing.

“It put the Secretary of State on record as supporting homosexuality as if it were as normal, healthy and morally sound as marriage," sniffed Concerned Women for America's Robert Knight. "This means that America will be represented to the Romanian people by an openly homosexual couple. How trendy. How decadent.”

for Q Syndicate, October, 2011

Ten years later, when antigay activists were pushing an amendment to enshrine marriage discrimination in the Minnesota state constitution, it only seemed natural to set a cartoon in the Mall of America.

Besides, I enjoy giving odd and punning names to imaginary specialty shops.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Q Toon: Sinema Viditée


Democrats rejoiced in 2018 when Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema narrowly won the Senate seat vacated by Republican Jeff Flake to become the first openly bisexual senator in the United States. 

Now Sinema is one of two nominally Democratic senators double-handedly blocking President Biden's Build Back Better Bill. The other 48 Democratic senators, the Biden administration, and everyone in the press are struggling to figure out exactly what it would take to get her and West Virginia's Joe Manchin on board. 

In Manchin's case, we've pretty much figured out that he wants a bill that some theoretical Republican might vote for; which is akin to finding a steakhouse a vegan might agree to eat at, or a classical opera your four-year-old would like to sit through.

If there is something that Kyrsten Sinema would like to see stricken from or added to the bill, she is being extremely coy about making everyone else guess what it might be. A reporter in the Capitol attempted to get her to explain her position:

Q: What do you say to progressives who are frustrated they don’t know where you are?

SINEMA: “I’m in the Senate.”

Q: There are progressives in the Senate that are also frustrated they don’t know where you are either.

SINEMA: “I’m clearly right in front of the elevator.”
It's dickishness like that that gets you harassed in the rest room by frustrated former supporters.
Q: No, I mean, what is your position on negotiations?
SINEMA: Sitting down, usually.
Q: What is your position now?
SINEMA: I'm standing, silly. 
Q: Is there anything you would like to see in the bill?
SINEMA: Words and numbers. Charts.
Q: Can't you be serious for a moment?
SINEMA: No, I'm Kyrsten Sinema.
Q: Hold on — I'm just getting word that Susan Collins has announced that she might be persuaded to vote for the bill. I'm gonna go talk to her.
SINEMA: Wait, what? No! She can't — she can't do that!
Q: Of course she didn't. Gotcha!