Archive for April, 2015

You Must Be on That Side

You Must Be on That Side

I guess it’s a survival technique. Back in the days when chances were pretty good that a wild animal could leap from the underbrush and eat you, it was helpful for humans to observe patterns. Being able to notice a certain kind of twig snap before the mountain lion attacked went a long way toward ensuring a future generation. These days, distracted drivers yammering on their cell phones may be the new mountain lions, but our behavior is the same: we are hard coded to look for patterns.

I think that’s where this “sides” business comes from. Based on the slimmest of information, we immediately want to put people into a certain category. Somebody who attends church is lumped in with all religious zealots. A person who encourages recycling becomes just the same as all those environmentalist nutjobs. Of course I do this kind of thing all the time. (And I hate it when people do it to me.)

So the idea for this cartoon came (as they often do) not so much from observing other people’s behavior as from reflecting on my own. Which is to say, from the stark realization that I can be just as annoying as the people I find annoying.


State Rep Gary Glenn Travels Back in Time to Meet Thomas Jefferson

State Rep Gary Glenn Travels Back in Time to Meet Thomas Jeffers

Pretty soon (this week, I think), the United States Supreme Court will determine whether Michigan’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional. When a case gets on the Supreme Court schedule, citizens and groups are free to file a brief to advocate for one side or the other. Briefs generally have no real effect on the justices themselves, but they can reveal a lot about the thinking and motivations of the people who file them.

Michigan’s current leading defender of moral righteousness, Gary Glenn, filed such a brief on behalf of the American Family Association of Michigan. In it, he clings to various questionable arguments (the majority rules of 2004 trumps the majority rules of 2015, gay marriage is a slippery slope to polygamy, etc.), but the most audacious to me was that the Founders of this nation would be on his side — it’s pretty much a direct quote from Mr. Glenn in panel 2. There is so much wrong with that, I had to send him back in time for Mr. Jefferson to, um, straighten him out.

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I Can’t Not Draw

Proposal 1 — That's My Conspiracy Theory, Anyway....

As mentioned in yesterday’s post (and for many of you readers, in an email I sent), MLive has cut back on its budget for freelance content, so for now my cartoons will appear in the Sunday paper once per month instead of once per week. Again, I would very much appreciate it if you send a brief email to Todd Fettig, Director of Presentation at MLive, urging MLive to reconsider and make my cartoons available online:

For nearly 20 years — first with the Grand Rapids Business Journal, then with the Grand Rapids Press and eventually MLive — I have drawn at least one editorial cartoon every week. Through child births and child raising and business travel and work conflicts and illnesses and holidays and occasional writer’s block, I never missed a deadline. I’m afraid if I stop now, I will pull a muscle. So for my own safety (and because I really, really like to draw), I plan to continue and see where it leads….

About the Cartoon: In Michigan we are coming up for a vote next month on Proposal 1. Proposal 1 is a train wreck of a piece of legislation with mostly good intentions. The basic idea is to fix our bad roads. And when I say “bad,” I mean “embarrassingly, historically, economically, horrendously awful” roads. We are well beyond “something needs to be done” and well into “this is figuratively and sometimes literally killing us.”

Unfortunately, our legislators shirked their duties and punted to the citizens a ballot proposal that’s (as the cartoon says) hopelessly complicated. And I’m conflicted. Because it is something I know I need …wrapped around a turd. Much the way I feel about dealing with cell phone contracts, cable company plans, and health insurance claims.

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Return Weekly Editorial Cartoons — and Make Them Available Online!

Readers, Friends, Family,

Because of recent budget decisions at MLive newspapers, my contract for editorial cartoons has been reduced — from once per week to once per month. As you might imagine, I don’t think it’s a good decision, either for me or for the readers. I hope you agree because I could use your help.

I am proposing to MLive that they return my editorial cartoons to each Sunday print edition. But then, to add value, to also make these same cartoons available as stories on the site. They would appear as a headline and image along with a paragraph or two of my commentary (similar to the way they now appear on my blog,

Up to this point, my cartoons have been only in the physical newspapers as an exclusive benefit to print buyers or subscribers. But adding the cartoons to MLive’s online site would draw new readers and clicks — the online version is definitely where newspapers see their future. So, print subscribers would continue to enjoy a weekly editorial cartoon crafted specially for Michigan readers, and online readers would benefit from a great new feature perfectly suited for online delivery.

Please take a moment to send an email to Todd Fettig, Director of Presentation at MLive:  

A few words in support of my proposal would be very much appreciated. If you would like to send a note to the editor of your local newspaper, that would be great, too. And please feel free to forward this email to anybody you know who might be interested.

If you have questions or want more information about any of this, please contact me. Thank you so much.

Sincerely and respectfully,

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We Are All in This Together! …Except for Me

We Are All in This Together! ...Except for Me.

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
April 5, 2015

We Americans have this bipolar thing going on. We are intensely proud of being Americans, yet fiercely independent. We wrap ourselves in the flag, embrace our neighbors, and chant “USA!” in enormous crowds. Yet we are deeply suspicious of those same neighbors when it appears they might be getting something we are not. We have an absolute belief in the importance of universal fairness. Until that fairness conflicts with our own personal preferences.

We should really take our meds. That is, if we could agree on whether we should (and who should pay for them).