Liberal or Conservative? Keeping My Options Open

Liberal or Conservative? Keeping My Options Open

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
September 28, 2014

When people ask me whether I’m liberal or conservative, I say neither because I like to keep my options open. It’s not that I can’t make commitments — I did the rough sketch for this cartoon with a pencil I bought at the Michigan Tech bookstore 30+ years ago. How’s that for commitment! No, it’s more that I don’t want to wear a label that others define (then violate).

What I’m saying in the cartoon I believe to be absolutely true: in general, those who identify themselves as liberals tend to want to be so fair about everything that it can create a mess. At a certain point, legislators need to consider whether the laws they propose are actually functional. Conservatives, in general, have great disdain for this. Until, of course, they see a very specific fairness they want to legislate. Case in point, Michigan Speaker of the House Jase Bolger floating the idea of paring a gay right amendment with a “religious freedom” act. Uh-huh. That wouldn’t open a Pandora’s Box of differing interpretations, counter laws, and lawsuits.

So, yeah. Keeping my options open…

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At Campaign Headquarters All Over Michigan

At Campaign Headquarters All Over Michigan

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
September 21, 2014

Of course this was much more topical when it ran on Sunday. Now the fact that the Tigers have been shutout two games in a row is more of the stress point.

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Understanding Our Current Tax Code

Understanding Our Current Tax Code

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
September 14, 2014

Two recent inspirations for this:

My solution for cartooning about such dry, unappealing topics? Steal great artwork.

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Double Up Food Bucks

Double Up Food Bucks

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
September 7, 2014

Well I haven’t had anything particularly nice to say for a good, long stretch. And while that is just fine in the world of editorial cartooning — in fact, expected, condoned, encouraged — I still feel the need to occasionally look for the positive, if for no other reason than a change of pace. So I was flipping through a newsletter from Feeding America, an awesome organization that Jane and I support, and I came upon this Double Up Food Bucks program. I was struck by what a great idea it is. Grand Rapids and many other Michigan cities have been adding and expanding Farmers Markets, which make fresh and inexpensive produce and other healthy foods available to city residence on food assistance. The Double Up Food Bucks program helps develop this relationship, and Michigan is leading the way. I thought more people should know about it.

Next week, likely a return to bitter cynicism…

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Do We Have a Racism Problem?

Do We Have a Racism Problem?

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
August 31, 2014

Yes, yes of course we have a racism problem. And we also have a problem when our first reactions to somebody being killed is hoping it was done randomly, not with a weapon we like, and not too close-by.  We (myself most definitely included) have lots of stuff to work on.

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The Algae Bloom That Threatens Great Lakes Drinking Water…

The Algae Bloom That Threatens Great Lakes Drinking Water...

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
August 24, 2014

Back when we bought our current house 15 years ago, I was feeling a bit guilty. In addition to  the house, we acquired from the previous owners a John Deere tractor with a motorized trailer attachment for collecting leaves. And my folks got us a leaf blower and a chainsaw. All items very necessary for a wooded acre lot, and I don’t regret having them. It’s just that for someone who tries to be a good environmentalist, that’s an awful lot of internal combustion engines. (My friend and motorcycle enthusiast, Monty, tried to assuage my guilt by telling me the one with the most internal combustion engines wins. Or maybe he was making fun of me…. Yeah, that was more likely it.)

So now, the same week that I draw a cartoon pointing out that Global Warming and the resulting Climate Change is having a ill effect on our drinking water supply, Jane and I became the owner of our fourth automobile. Is there anything less green than four actively used automobiles? I suppose by Monty’s standards, I am winning but not without feeling somewhat a hypocrite.

But, feelings notwithstanding, the problem of Climate Change and algae blooms threatening water supplies is real. Earlier this month, an algae bloom in Lake Erie contaminated water supplies for Toledo, Ohio and some southeastern Michigan communities. Satellite photos showed vast areas of bright green against the darker blue normal water of the lake. A wind shift caused some of the toxic algae to be drawn into the water system. Generally warmer temperatures create better conditions for this thick soup of slimy green algae to grow. More intense storms cause fertilizers to wash off to the lake and feed the blooms. It’s a real issue, and my point is that there is no sense in denying it. But also I am among the many who should consider what we might want to do about it.

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The Key to Education

The Key to Education

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
August 17, 2014

Yeah, I know — jumping the gun a bit on the “back to school” theme. But I figured this would give us parents a reminder to allow ourselves to focus on the kids before summer is over.

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Yeech! Slimy Anonymous Political Ads

Yeech! Slimy Anonymous Political Ads

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
August 10, 2014

So I printed a collage of slugs to tape to my table as a reference for drawing this cartoon. I stared at the slugs, noted their color, the sheen of their slime trails, etc. After I had done with the drawing and before I started to ink, I took a break for 10 minutes or so. When I came back I had to get rid of the slug collage because now it was making me queazy. I think I did the same thing a few years ago with a cartoon that included sea lampreys. The perils of editorial cartooning….

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Running Hard to the Right

Running Hard to the Right

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
August 3, 2014

Ugh! Enough already! It’s really time to drop the whole “I’m a conservative because I hate Obamacare” bit and get on with moving our health care system forward. For some perspective, here are some health care related cartoons I was drawing more than a decade ago:

GRBJ0188 health care costs

GRBJ0296 health care costs

GRBJ0316 health care vamp

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Proposal 1 Is Harshing My Summer Mellow

Proposal 1 Is Harshing My Summer Mellow

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
July 27, 2014

Not much to add to this one really. Tax structures, local revenue stabilization, business equipment values — it’s quite a lot to have to think about during the few weeks of nice weather we get here in Michigan. Except that it didn’t get out of the 60s yesterday. *sigh*

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