Protecting Privacy the GOP Way

Protecting Privacy the GOP Way

There is a fantastic children’s book called Everyone Poops by Tarō Gomi. It was one of our kids favorites — fun to read and engaging artwork (actual images of poop, notwithstanding). It’s not much of a spoiler to tell you it’s about the fact that every human, every living animal, eliminates waste. And although there may be great variation in size and shape, it is something we all have to do, a universally shared experience. (My favorite part: “A one-hump camel makes a one-hump poop. And a two-hump camel makes a two-hump poop. …only kidding!”)

And so as human animals we universally share the need to take care of business in a safe, relatively dignified place, right? So whatever you think about transgender people, we can all start there. And I think that’s where the Michigan school board did start when it was tasked with developing some volunteer guidelines to ensure a place for all children to take care of business.

Now many people have legitimate concerns about how, functionally, that is going to happen and the effects it might have on them and their children. Yes, of course. Let’s talk about that. Let’s learn more. Let’s figure it out. But let’s keep in mind the overarching goals (safety, dignity) and avoid reactionary legislation, such as a bill Senator Tom Casperson is planning to introduce. As North Carolina has demonstrated, it would just make matters worse. Everyone poops, Senator. But nobody has to be a poop.

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Fitting Punishments for Norman Shy

Fitting Punishments for Norman Shy

Well there were plenty of words in today’s cartoon, so there is no need to add a lot more here. If you are not familiar with the Norman Shy/Detroit Public School debacle (or you are familiar and feel the need to get your blood pressure up), here is the backstory.

I would like to note that I realize I may have gone too far with the middle panel. However, my original concept had Pope Francis driving his fist Raging Bull-style through Shy’s jaw — spit, blood, teeth flying. Luckily I could not find a picture of Norman Shy to draw him.

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Governor Weasel

Governor Weasel

I’m not sure why, but “weasel” has become my go-to descriptor the shifty, scummy, and skeevy. I don’t know how weasels got such a negative association, but it seems to work. It identifies a certain lowly behavior — conniving, possibly even cunning, but most definitely self-serving. And it’s lack of bias makes it quite versatile. It can be applied across gender, race, age, politics. For examples, Todd Courser & Cindy Gamrat — weasels. Those principals who embezzled money from the Detroit Public Schools — weasels. The governor of North Carolina — weasel. Ted Cruz — ferret face.

The weasel image I default to is the bad guys from the “Wind and the Willows” (specifically, the Disney animated version from 1949) who are, in fact, weasels. Disney has the copyright locked down pretty tight, so I can’t provide a link to the animation, but here’s an image:

WindandWillowsWeasels

Can’t you just see these guys apologizing and accepting responsibility in one instance, then blaming others and hiding behind lawyers in the next? Yeah, me too.

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Trying Not to Strangle Spring Breakers

Trying Not to Strangle Spring Breakers

I remember reading an interview with Garry Trudeau of “Doonesbury” fame in which he gave this advice to upcoming politically-minded cartoonists: You can be more effective if you occasionally loosen your grip on the jugular. (Put another way, you Tigers opening day fans — the fastball can be more effective if you throw an occasional change-up.)

So consider this my grip loosened and my up changed. There remains plenty, plenty, plenty of rage inducing shenanigans going on in Michigan and the rest of the country, but I thought it best to poke a little fun at ourselves (and the truly godforsaken weather we’ve had this week). And even though I’m one of the poor slobs who has had to endure it, I have no intention of strangling anybody.

Then again, I did read this on Michigan Radio’s website: “Former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat have filed a notice with the Michigan Court of Claims that they could sue the state and others to recoup more than $500,000 for lost wages and compensatory damages for psychological and emotional distress related to their removal from office.”

Ahhhh! I feel the rage coming on. And it’s helping to keep me warm!

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If History Teaches Us Anything

If History Teaches Us Anything

If history teaches us anything (and it mostly doesn’t seem to), it teaches us that our fears can cause us to make some regrettable decisions. We have perfectly justifiable fears — of the new, of the different, of just plain change (we’re human after all). But then we let those fears run roughshod. A worry here, a concern there, and then all of the sudden the Japanese-Americans are being sent off to internment camps. Do you know what I mean? Fear is like a fertilizer for poor choices.

So what do you say we get ahead of it this time, huh? How about we think this one through and avoid passing any sort of legislation that marginalizes transgender people? We can do the right thing now and be proud ourselves. Or we can let fear rule and ruin lives until we come to our senses. C’mon gang! One time ’round without the guilt and shame?

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Brussels and Flint

Brussels and Flint

I guess this one came from experiencing one too many “Flint made its own mess; let them suffer” comments. I mean, I understand the sentiment. Anybody familiar with Flint over the past 40 years knows of the many poor decisions, the wasted resources, the sometimes straight-up corruption. (Is there a better cautionary tale of the bad that can happen when you elect an egotistical, speaks-his-mind, “successful” businessman who promises to make things great again than former mayor Don Williamson?) But even if you ignore the overwhelming forces of de-industrialization and globalization and say that Flint’s problems are entirely self-inflicted, it would still not be in anybody’s long-term interest to consider Flint residents as something less than other people.

In fact, it’s exactly that sort of thinking that created the environment for the water crisis to happen. If you don’t care about the people, it’s much easier to flip that switch; if you don’t care about the people, it’s much easier to ignore the obvious and delay response; if you don’t care about the people, it’s much easier to point fingers and avoid responsibility. In Flint’s case, we ended up with lead poisoning and deaths from Legionnaire’s Disease. Now radicalize that uncaring, and we end up with terrorist attacks and dozens dead in Brussels.

It all starts with devaluing human life, and no good comes from it.

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Snyder Testifies Before Congress

Snyder Testifies Before Congress

Ours is a system of checks and balances. And one of the biggest checks is getting yelled at. Nobody likes to be yelled at, and that’s exactly what getting called to testify before congress is. Some will say, “I look forward to the opportunity.” That’s bullcrap. You may get to give your statement. You may get to defend your actions. But at some point, you are going to get yelled at — your name in big block, highly readable letters right in front of you as that soundbite gets played over and over. And whether the legislators wagging their fingers at you are sincerely passionate or bloviating only to hear themselves speak, it doesn’t matter. You and your super-sized politician, business mogul or (in the olden days) union boss ego have to sit there and take it.

I’m not sure how things will go for Governor Snyder today. I do think he got a lucky draw in that today is St Patrick’s Day and the first big day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, which might suck a good deal of the public attention oxygen out of the air. I suspect it will get partisan with Democrats tearing into Snyder while Republicans try to nail the EPA to the wall. The cartoon addresses my feeling about that. I just hope some good comes from it for the people of Flint and that the powerful take note to consider more carefully the consequences of their future actions.

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Not You, Mitt

Not You, Mitt.

So I was watching Animal House a few days ago, a movie near and dear to my heart. (My wife and I had our first date at a toga party. For you Flint Powers grads, yes, the infamous Mike Kushuba toga party.) It occurred to me that there was a metaphor there for the current presidential race, specifically the Republican flavor.

Consider Dean Wormer and the Omegas to be the Republican establishment. Consider the Deltas to be Trump supporters. Now I know what you’re thinking, “I like the Deltas! I don’t want them to be the Trump supporters.” Hang with me. I would submit that the Deltas by themselves are fairly loathsome: self-indulgent, somewhat racist, certainly misogynistic, willfully stupid, but they do speak their mind. (Does this sound familiar?) The only reasons we like these guys is (1) they are entertaining and (2) Dean Wormer, and the Omegas are even more loathsome. It’s fun to see somebody (anybody) stick it to the establishment.

Admittedly, it’s not a perfect metaphor. I would cast Karl Rove as Dean Wormer, Mitt Romney as Greg Marmalard (the Omega leader), and Ted Cruz as Neidermeyer (because nobody on the Omega side could stand Neidermeyer either). Beyond that, it kinda breaks down. Although I can imagine this scene:

Trump: [after the Republican establishment has conspired to take the nomination away from him] “What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until I decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

Supporter 1: “Germans?”

Supporter 2: “Forget it, he’s rolling.”

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Auchtoon! now also on AndrewHeller.com

My cartoons are going to be posted Fridays on Andrew Heller’s website! Andrew is a hilarious and insightful Michigan-based columnist of many years. I couldn’t be more pleased to share a space with him again. (We are both formerly of MLive.) Stop by the site and click around. Feel free to share, post and generally cause a frenzy.

AndrewHeller.com

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Michigan Presidential Primary

Michigan Presidential Primary

Yes, yes. I know Ben Carson dropped out and won’t be one of the participants in the Michigan Republican Presidential primary. I was literally inking his face when I found out. But you know what? I decided to keep him in the cartoon. First, as a hat tip to his Michigan roots. But mostly for enduring the Republican debate sideshows. Dr. Carson deserves to be voted against as much as any of the other candidates.

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