Archive for June, 2015

Restricting Voting Looks Like…

Restricting Voting Looks Like...

Also posted online at, June 27, 2015

I was born in Pennsylvania, but when I was 5 years-old my family moved to South Carolina. In third grade, I was on the playground when I let slip my place of birth. Bodie Upchurch challenged me to a fight …because I was a Yankee. I really didn’t want to fight. First, Bodie was just as skinny as me (if that was possible) but much shorter, so there was nothing to gain. Second, I didn’t think being a Yankee was something to fight over. (Now if he had said that Hot Wheels were better than Matchbox or if he had cheated at playing marbles, those would have been actionable offenses — I was known to enthusiastically throw punches for good reasons like that.)

Bodie tried explaining why we were compelled to hate each other. And then he went the standard route of goading me by questioning my pre-adolescent manhood, but I wouldn’t budge. In the end, he assured me that the next time the North and South went at it, the South would win. He left satisfied he made his point. I took a mental note not to bring up Pennsylvania again during recess.

Today, I like to imagine that if Bodie Upchurch were an elected official in South Carolina, he’d do the right thing and vote to remove the Confederate battle flag from their state house grounds — despite his ideology, despite his pride, despite his middle name being “Lee.” (I don’t know for sure that it was “Lee,” but I found that to be a pretty safe bet.) In a similar way, I’d like to think that Senators Arlan Meekhof and Dave Robertson would do the right thing and stop blocking passage of a bill that would make voting more convenient and inclusive — despite their ideology, despite their pride, despite their middle names being “Manipulate the System to the Benefit of My Political Party.” (Again, I don’t know for sure that it is, but it seems that way.)


Snyder Loves Budgets

Snyder Loves Budgets


Also posted online at, June 20, 2015

There was a pop song a few years ago called “Love Me Dead” by a group called Ludo. It has nothing to do with Governor Snyder or Michigan politics or the legislative process (other than I guess it being about dysfunctional relationships), but it has a lyric that goes: “You’re an office park without any trees.”  And that actually was my starting point for today’s cartoon. Reflecting on Governor Snyder’s past couple of weeks, he seemed to have all the human warmth of an office park without any trees. More “one tough nerd” and not so much “relentless positive action.”


Alice’s Adventures in Michiganland

Editorial Cartoon

Also posted online at, June 13, 2015

Last week I poked fun at old farts who complain about the current state of the world. Well, here’s my old fart complaint: Hardly anybody reads the classics anymore. Time was when an editorial cartoonist could use a classic literature reference (Aesop, Shakespeare, Swift, Dickens, Austin, Twain, Hugo, Poe, etc.) and be reasonably sure that the general public would understand. Nowadays, not so much, what with these kids and their self-esteem and video games and tattoos and that darn hippity hop music and… (um, you know how the rant goes from here).

So I was somewhat hesitant to use Alice in Wonderland. True, the Disney animated feature and the recent Tim Burton film have helped keep Alice in Wonderland in the public consciousness. But to truly appreciate the divine craziness, you need to read Lewis Carroll’s actual stories. Alice trying in vain to make sense of the Mad Hatter and March Hare’s tea party — what could be a better metaphor for Lansing politics and the utter delusional madness of the House Republican bill to fix our roads?


The World Is Going to Hell …or Not

Editorial Cartoon -- MLive Media Group

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
June 7, 2015

Also posted online at, June 6, 2015

When I graduated from Michigan Tech, the special speaker at the ceremony was an executive from Intel Corporation. He prattled on for his allotted 30 minutes about the current state of the microchip business, how there was once great promise, but now the Japanese competition was eating their lunch. (This to a group of young engineers predominantly from southeast Michigan who were intimately familiar with Japanese competition eating lunches.) There was nothing inspiring about it. The take-away message for me as a graduate was “the world used to be better, but now it pretty much sucks — alas for you.” Worst. Commencement. Address. Ever.

Maybe that’s why it’s a pet peeve of mine when some (generally older) person goes off on an “everything is going to hell” rant. First, it’s not helpful. Second, it’s not true. Yes, there may be some things today that are undeniably worse (quality of journalism). But you can’t just cherry pick because some things that are undeniably better (beer choices).

Mostly I believe it to be a case of the world evolving and having to deal with new variations of the same human challenges.

So give the youth a break. Try to share perspective, not opinion. (As it turns out, the mid-80s were a minor low point in the life of Intel, and the company went on to tremendous success.) Because there really is nothing more insufferable than an older person (especially a baby boomer) going on about how their music was so much better than yours.