Archive for March, 2020

GOP Senators Now and Then

GOP Senators Now and Then

Admittedly, comparing the financial crisis that precipitated the Great Recession to the one we’re currently experiencing is kinda apples-to-oranges. Different economics, different timelines, different triggers. Still, am I the only one feeling disorientated by stunning contrast of the GOP and the bailout money?

Go back with me a dozen years to a time when Senators from southern states pontificated at great length about budget deficits and fiscal restraint. Remember how they knitted their collective brows in grave concern about prudent spending of taxpayer money. In particular how Senator Richard Shelby threatened filibuster over bailing out automakers calling the money a “bridge loan to nowhere.”

As we now know, those loans turned out to be a pretty good deal — for Michigan and the country. Our manufacturing base was saved, the loans were paid back, and we enjoyed a decade of tremendous prosperity. I hope we will be able to say the same about the current bailout to the travel and lodging industry. It’s just more than a little galling the way those same senators are selling this bailout to us.


Blaming “The Media”

Blaming "The Media"

Let me be clear: Opinion pieces are not all inherently bad. Good ones can provide context for the complex concepts and hard to understand situations. The late, great Jeff MacNelly once said this about editorial cartoonists:

“We violate all the rules of journalism. We misquote and slander and distort. [But] the interesting thing is, the political cartoonist usually, if he’s any good, gets a hell of a lot closer to the truth than a responsible reporter.”

Opinion pieces can take short-cuts. Actual journalists have rules and standards and ethics, which I’m told can really slow a person down! And they can be annoying. Do reporters have to keep asking that politician I support those stupid questions? Do they have to keep digging? It’s not their business. Oh, but it is. It’s vital that journalists do the hard work because who else is going to vet the truth? You certainly can’t count on the opinion people.

You may have noticed the absence of my cartoon last week on It was actually a pretty good example of where opinion and real news tangle. In the cartoon I suggested that our country was strong enough to survive this current disaster (not just the coronavirus pandemic but also the Trump Administration). It’s one thing to write it, it’s another to put it in a cartoon where humor is implied. With events moving at light speed these days, there was no way of knowing how the context might shift, so my editor thought it best not to run it (and I agreed). I certainly didn’t want something seen as a glib opinion distract from the actual news.

And context has changed quite a bit. Looking at the cartoon a week later, the most objectionable thing about it may be that I drew the two characters too close together — definitely not at a proper social distance.

Please be safe and take care of each other.


We’ll Get Through This

We'll Get Through This

I was going to go on at some length, attempting to tie the cartoon together with the recent Michigan primary and the 2016 election and the importance of holding elected officials accountable. It was going to be a bit tortured, but in the end I thought I might be able to pull it off.

But given the current state of affairs, I couldn’t imagine why I would want to read something like that.

Instead, I only really want to state that I do in fact believe that we live in a great nation blessed with abundant resources to manage this crisis. Please be kind, smart, and vigilant.

Postscript: Michigan Radio decided against running this cartoon. They were good with the cartoon itself when they got it Thursday, but unsure about how context around it might change by the time readers saw it over the next few days. Mostly, they did not want to cause unintentional hurt to readers dealing with medical emergencies. I understand their decision. I’m posting it here because I still think it’s a good, thought-provoking editorial cartoon and almost every editorial cartoon I’ve ever drawn has had unintentional consequences.


Michigan Primary

Michigan Primary

I’m sure many of you have seen the meme going around social media meant to assuage voters whose preferred presidential candidate has dropped. It’s just a block of words that says this:

Time to remember the best voting advice I have heard: Voting isn’t marriage, it’s public transportation. You are not waiting for “the one” who is absolutely perfect. You are getting the bus. And if there isn’t one going exactly to your destination, you don’t stay at home and sulk — you take the one going closest to where you want to be.

It’s not attributed to anyone, which is good because most most of these “quote memes” end up being attributed to the wrong person (or are simply made up). In any case, it’s a reasonable analogy and decent advice. I’m trying my best to take it.

It just would be so much easier if Sanders would stop insisting that he can explain the difference between “democratic socialism” and “socialism” to the American public. And if Biden would never ever never use the term “Joementum” again.