How Amp Voted, 2020

I got my ballot in the mail yesterday. And that means – time to vote! Time to go through the whole ballot and figure out who I want to be Circuit Court judge (4th district position 12), who should be the east soil & water director-at-large 2, and many other exciting races!

I live-tweeted filling out my ballot, and used those tweets to make this post.

And before anyone asks, yes it is legal to take photos of your ballot in the state of Oregon.

The Federal offices come first.

For president, I’m voting for Biden. I don’t have to – Oregon is a safe state, so I could vote third party – but I’m hoping Biden’s popular vote win will be enormous, and taken as a repudiation of what the GOP has become.

For Senator, our main choices are Jeff Merkley, who by some measures is the fourth most liberal Senator, or the Republican candidate for the Senate, who is literally a Q-Anon follower.

Gosh, WHAT a tough decision. Merkley it is.

I’m in the third district, so the winner for the House race will be Democrat Earl Blumenauer, possibly the whitest man in the world. Earl’s been in office 25 years, so he has seniority up to his bow tie, and he’s very liberal. Plus, I want a resounding Dem victory. Earl it is.

Secretary of State!

The GOP candidate, Kim Thatcher, is very very concerned about a handful of alleged voter fraud cases, which is GOP-speak for “I will try to prevent Black people and college students from voting.” And she hates Oregon’s vote-by-mail system, which works great.

I realize I’ve just been voting straight party line so far. Boring, I know. The Democrats aren’t that good (although Oregon has some good ones), but the Republicans are that bad.

State Treasurer, we have Tobias Read, who is experienced and has been working to grow Oregon’s state-sponsored retirement programs (oregonsaves.org). His opponent is Jeff Gudman, who has zero relevant experience and would try and cut back such programs.

The same two candidates ran for Treasurer last time, and Read beat Gudman by a fairly small margin. So this isn’t a race to make a symbolic vote for the Progressive party.

Read it is!

Attorney General.

The Republican candidate is a joke, which won’t prevent people from voting for him, alas. He’s not a lawyer and knows nothing about the job, but he thinks it’ll be a good position to keep Gov. Kate Brown (D) from doing anything.

The incumbent, Democrat Ellen Rosenblum, was a judge before becoming Attorney General, and says she sees corporations and President Trump as the enemy, not Oregon’s own governor.

Given the choice, there really is no choice. Rosenblum.

Next come a number of state races where someone is running unopposed. State senator 23rd district, Judge of the Oregon Supreme Court – really? No one decided to challenge the incumbent?

I’m writing in “April Ludgate” for all those positions.

Judge of the Circuit Court, 4th Distinct, Position 12. A race where I haven’t heard even remotely of either candidate.

Time to consult Oregon’s 177-page “voter’s pamphlet.” I love my state!

Actually, both of these women – Adrian Brown vs Rima Ghandour – seem terrific. Neither one seems likely to be a rubber-stamp for the police.

When two candidates seem similarly good in most ways, I go to identity politics as the tie-breaker.

Ghandour would be Oregon’s first Arab-American women on the bench. And she’s an immigrant. In a time of raging anti-immigrant sentiment, that could matter. Ghandour it is.

Time to vote for Portland Mayor!

Iannarone is a smart activist with great positions on affordable housing, on police reform, and other issues. She’s an ally of Jo Ann Hardesty, who Iannarone would put in charge of oversight of the Police Bureau.

The downside to Iannarone is that I’m not sure she’ll get anything done. Lack of experience, not at all diplomatic.

Ted Wheeler, on the other hand… Well, he could be worse. And he knows how City Hall works. But he’s been completely incoherent when it comes to the protests.

For this race, I’m going to vote my idealism and hope it works out. Sarah Iannarone it is.

Mingus Mapps vs Chloe Eudaly for City Commissioner, position four.

Many years ago, I’d sometimes chat with Chloe when buying books from her store. I like her. Mapps seems good, but there’s no way he’d be as firm pushing against the police (who endorsed him). Chloe Eudaly it is.

Okay, now comes the big event – the EAST MULTNOMAH COUNTEY SOIL AND WATER DIRECTOR POSITIONS!

There are three contested elections in this category. (And one non-contested, for which I wrote in April Ludgate.)

Hey, remember the Oregon Voters’ “Pamphlet” I consulted before – the 177 page monstrosity?

Well, it’s completely useless for the Soil & Water positions. For Soil & Water, I have to turn to the Multnomah County Voters’ Pamphlet, which clocks in at a relatively modest 120 pages.

120 pages but it doesn’t actually list all of the candidates.

I’m going to take not even getting your case for why I should vote for you into the Voters’ Pamphlet as a signal of being less effective or committed. So if you’re not listed, I won’t vote for you. Sorry, Rick Till.

With Rick Till eliminated, the director at-large position one is a race between Devin Portwood and Jim Carlson, both of whom have submitted photos with wonderfully dorky expressions. (That’s Devin on the left).

I’d happily play AD&D with either of those faces.

Portwood’s statement emphasizes “the practical side to going green,” but gives no specifics, and none of his past experience (veterinary tech) seems relevant. I’m not convinced he’s done the research.

James (Jim) Carlson says he wants to add new ideas to the board, but doesn’t say what any of those ideas are.

Carlson does have experience in local government (been on a couple of committees). Lacking anything else to go on, I’m voting for James (Jim) Carlson.

Now for director at-large position two, which is Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky vs Lars Granstrom.

Granstrom’s only argument for voting for him is his experience as a farmer, but Zimmer-Stucky is also a farmer, so that’s a wash.

But Zimmer-Stucky seems to have more relevant education (barely relevant, but still), and she talks about specific ideas she’d like to pursue. She also has a list of endorsements; Granstrom does not.

Basically, she’s trying harder, and that gets her my vote. Zimmer-Stucky it is.

East Soil & Water, Director, Zone 2.

Laura Masterson vs Grant Eisele. Masterson made it easy for me by (it would seem) not submitting a page for the voters’ pamphlet.

From his listing, organic farmer Eisele seems like a nice guy who’s eager for the position. Eisele it is!

Okay, I’ve now completed the front side of my ballot. The back side, with 11 ballot measures on it, comes next.

The too long, don’t read on these ballot measures: Just vote “yes” for every single one of them. They’re all good.

First, a couple of state legislative measures, which means that Oregon’s congress voted to have us vote on them.

Measure 107: Allows local governments to make laws limiting political campaign contributions, and laws requiring disclosure of spending to influence an election. YES.

Measure 108: This increases taxes on cigs, cigars, e-cigs, and “vaping products.” The money is used for health care. YES.

Measure 109: Shrooms! Opens up the door a crack to allowing patients whose mental health would benefit from it, to legally buy and consume psilocybin, “a psychoactive component found in certain mushrooms.”

A small and cautious step, but it’s in the right direction. YES!

Measures 109 and 110 came from citizen petitions, by the way, not from congress.

Measure 110: Creates free centers to treat drug addiction. Makes having small quantities of coke, heroin, meth, oxy, lsd, etc a “non-criminal class E violation,” with a maximum penalty of $100.

Carrying more than the allowed amounts would be a misdemeanor, not a felony.

Of course, this won’t change federal law, but it’s still a significant step towards legalizing drugs.

YES!

That’s it for state measures; now let’s do county measures!

Measure 26-211: Bond to fund improving existing and building new libraries. YES!

Measure 26-214: Free preschool, paid for by increasing rich people’s taxes. YES.

And now, City of Portland measures!

Measure 26-213: Improve and restore Portland parks, paid for by an increase in property taxes of eighty cents per $1000 assessed value.

YES.

Measure 26-217 says that the city can create a police oversight board, empowered to investigate and to take disciplinary action.

A world of YES.

Measure 26-219 would make it legal for land already owned by the Portland water bureau to be developed for use by the public. For example, the land surrounding a water tower could be turned into a public park.

YES.

Measure 26-218.
A Metro Region ballot measure.
It would fund about 150 infrastructure projects (buses, bridge repair, sidewalks, traffic signals, traffic safety, etc) by taxing employers with more than 25 employees.

YES.

Lastly, a Portand School District Measure, measure 26-215. This would replace some tapering-off bonds with new bonds, so the net effect is, tax levels don’t change. The money is for school improvements (textbooks, computers, roof repair, modernization, expansions, etc.)

YES.

And that’s it!

Vote, please. It’s not hard, and it’s kind of interesting to learn who some of these people are and what the ballot measures (if passed) would do. And if you can, turn in your ballot early.

End of rant!

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Cartoon: Meet My Liberal Beliefs


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There are a number of self-identified liberal or centrist democratic pundits who spend virtually all their time attacking the left – attacking Black Lives Matter, attacking so-called “SJW” “left identitarians” and so on – but who, when they’re referred to as conservatives, will say that’s completely unfair because they’re pro-choice and they plan to vote for Biden and so on.

But that’s the only time they bring these things up. They never publish an op-ed or even argue on social media in favor of reproductive rights; they just bring it up as a credential to better position themselves to attack the left.

They have a right to focus on whatever they want. No one has time to write about every worthy issue in the world. But I’m not criticizing them for not defending (for example) choice; I’m criticizing them for not defending choice while repeatedly using their pro-choice views as a credential.

It’s hard to take the “I’m pro-choice, so I have credibility when I say feminists are evil” mantra seriously when saying that appears to be the entire extent of their (public) commitment to reproductive rights.

And the same for their commitment to gay rights, to environmentalism, to anti-racism, and so on. For public figures like pundits, they don’t deserve credit for liberal positions they’ve virtually never argued for or defended. And they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to use their nonexistent support of liberal positions opportunistically to bolster their attacks on the left.

(I swiped some of the phrasing above from this 2016 blog post I wrote. So this has been on my mind a while!)


This was fun for me to draw. I got to draw a superhero! That doesn’t come up often for me. The thing I worked hardest on here was drawing the superhero’s face – that handsome square-jawed thing isn’t my usual style. I ended up having to flip the drawing left-to-right and redraw it from there (that’s an old cartoonist’s trick; flipping a drawing like that can make errors apparent that you’d failed to notice).

I also used a different font than my usual. I absolutely love the font I usually use, Moritat. Moritat is legible and tidy and super-energetic all at once.  But Moritat is an all-caps font, so you can’t really Capitalize Words. And I really wanted to be able to capitalize the first letters in “My Liberal Beliefs,” as if it were a name. So I went with J Scott Campbell, another font I like (I use it to letter “SuperButch”). Both fonts are made by Comicraft.

Wow, I bet that last paragraph bored everyone reading this who isn’t a cartoonist!


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus a small “kicker” panel under the bottom of the comic strip.

PANEL 1

We’re in a hilly park or field. Two people appear to be having an argument. One is a brown-skinned woman with black hair, with a couple of pink streaks running through it.  She’s wearing a white tank top with broad blue strips on it. Let’s call her PINKY. The other person is a white man wearing a white tee shirt with a “!” design on it. He has fluffy brown hair and a full beard. Let’s call him BEARDO.

Pinky is looking angry and pointing a critical finger at Beardo. Beardo is looking angry, too, and is making a big “I’m frustrated” arm gesture.

BEARDO: It’s illibral to accuse people of “racism.” Where’s due process? Where’s freedom of speech?

PINKY: I’m so tired of that right-wing —

PANEL 2

Pinky jumps back in alarm, while Beardo talks on cheerfully. Between them, a superhero has appeared in a puff of smoke (there’s a “poof” sound effect). The superhero is wearing a tight blue outfit, with boots and a cape and a shield-shaped symbol on his chest that says “MLB.” He is standing in with his hands on his hips and his chest thrust up a bit. His expression is happy but also smug.

PINKY: Whoa! Where’d HE come from?

BEARDO: This is My Liberal Beliefs. He suddenly appears and protects me when I’m accused of being right-wing.

PANEL 3

There is a close-up of a bunch of political logo pins, pined to My Liberal Beliefs’ chest. We can see Beardo’s hand as he points at the pins. There are five pins, and here’s what they say:

“Pro Choice until I decide it’s gone too far”

“I will probably VOTE democrat.”

“I fight for FREE SPEECH of wealthy pundits s who are very like myself.”

“Gay Marriage Yay!”

“If I had been around back then I’m sure I would have marched with MLK.”

BEARDO: Just LOOK at all My Liberal Beliefs! How could I possibly be right-wing?

PANEL 4

Pinky looks a little annoyed, while Beardo, who has his arms folded across his chest, looks quite cheerful. In between them, My Liberal Beliefs has disappeared, leaving a “poof cloud” in the air behind him.

PINKY: So do Your Liberal Beliefs ever speak aloud?

BEARDO: That’s not what they’re for.

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE CARTOON

Beardo, looking a bit angry, is talking to Barry the cartoonist.

BEARDO: So if virtually every public argument I make is attacking the left, THAT makes me right-wing?

BARRY: Only literally.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics | Comments Off  

Open Thread and Link Farm, Half Amused Edition

  1. Strawmanny Questions About Genital Preference, Part One | Thing of Things
    “I recently stumbled across this set of questions for trans people about sexual orientation and genital preferences. Since there is nothing I enjoy more than answering strawmanny questions, I decided to help…”
  2. A Picture of Change for a World in Constant Motion – The New York Times
    This is a really enjoyable article about a 1830 woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai: “Ejiri in Suruga Province.” But what’s really amazing about it, for me, is the format; as you scroll down the article, the view of the print changes, zooming in on details the article is highlighting. An impressive use of web design to improve content.
  3. The Attack on Voting in the 2020 Elections – The New York Times (And an alternate link.)
    “As we approach an election in which the threat of voter fraud is being used as a justification for unprecedented legal and political interventions in our democratic process, it is important to understand what this claim actually represents: It is nothing short of a decades-long disinformation campaign…”
  4. A man’s journey from dismissing to getting sick and spreading coronavirus – The Washington PostHow a conservative’s covid denial destroyed his family.
  5. The Supreme Court will hear a case that could destroy what remains of the Voting Rights Act – Vox
  6. Trump’s New Supreme Court Is Coming for the Next Elections
  7. “Lovers make the easiest marks”: Profile of a romance scammer
  8. Does Call of Duty Believe in Anything? – YouTube
    A 25-minute video about how ridiculous it is to insist, as the creators do, that this hugely successful video game series is “not political.”
  9. US democracy is broken: How to fix voting rights, elections, the Senate, and the Electoral College – Vox
    Humanitarian Camp Raided by Border Patrol and BORTAC, 30+ People Arrested – UNICORN RIOT
    Because God forbid that any unauthorized migrant fail to suffer an incredibly awful death. These people would have 100% been on the concentration camp side during the Holocaust, while making similar excuses.
  10. Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal – The New York Times (Alternate link.)
    Who knew Ebay had what was, in effect, a dirty ops team? And an incompetent one, at that.
  11. Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You — ProPublica
  12. The Monkeys You Ordered: New Yorker cartoons with literal captions.
  13. The Mythical Taboo on Race and Intelligence – John P. Jackson, Andrew S. Winston, 2020
    “There are two rival explanations for why hereditarian research is not widely accepted outside their small circle of researchers. The first is the banal explanation is that they are not, in fact, producing reliable and empirically robust, scientifically meaningful conclusions; an explanation clearly unacceptable to hereditarians. Thus, they offer their rival explanation: there is an unacceptable political dogma preventing discussing the scientific truth of racial differences.”

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Cartoon: Why Aren’t You Wearing A Mask?


If you like these cartoons, help me make more by supporting my Patreon!


I posted this cartoon on patreon a little over a month ago, but it resonates differently now, with President Trump sick with Covid. I don’t want Trump to die, but the phrase “you brought this on yourself” very much applies here.


I generally create “evergreen” cartoons – cartoons that are about ongoing, often underlying issues, rather than about a passing news stories. But sometimes I can’t resist doing a cartoon about current events, and this cartoon is one of those times.

(At least, I really hope the need for people to mask will be a passing thing.)

People refusing to mask really infuriates me,  because it’s not just about them. All of us are in more danger – and all of us are further away from a return to anything approaching normalcy – because of people refusing to take coronavirus seriously.

It’s unbelievable, but every panel of this cartoon is based on things real anti-maskers have said. For instance, a citizen at a public meeting about covid, in Canyon County, Idaho, said that if God wanted us wearing masks we’d have been born with them. (This was reported by Don Day on Twitter.)

That medical authorities – or “the deep state” – is purposely delaying progress on covid until after the election, in order to hurt President Trump’s re-election chances, is believed by many on the far right, including President Trump himself, because Republicans really, really wanted an delusional narcissistic ignoramus to be the most powerful person in the world.

The “Chinese globalist Bill Gates bioweapon attack” idea comes to us from megapopular far-right pundit Alex Jones.

One of these panels, however, is based on a personal encounter. I needed to go the pharmacy, so I took the bus. Portland buses are usually very good – everyone masks (there are free masks available for anyone without), the seats are marked off for social distancing, and there’s a hand sanitizer dispenser by the door. But this time, a man a couple of seats in front of me was yakking on his cell phone, with his mask pulled down around his neck.

I’m very non-confrontational in person, largely because I have a phobia of being punched in the mouth. But this time, as I was exiting the bus, I turned back to the man (we were at least six feet apart) and reminded him that we’re required to wear masks on the bus. He grinned and said “I AM wearing a mask,” pointing to the mask around his neck. He clearly thought this was very clever.


This cartoon is in one of my favorite formats, which I haven’t done in a while – a different character in each panel, all talking directly to the viewer about the cartoon’s theme.  Not having to be consistent from panel to panel, either in character design or in setting, makes these cartoons a lot of fun for me to draw.

I was having trouble drawing the hands in panels four and six, so I took reference photos with my webcam. I tried to imitate the expressions I’d drawn on the characters, but without much success.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels. In each panel, a different white person speaks directly to the viewer. In addition, a seventh, small “kicker” panel is underneath the final panel.

PANEL 1

Most of this panel is taken up by a large caption. In big, friendly lettering, it says “Why aren’t you wearing a MASK?”

Below the caption, an older-looking man in a polo shirt and wearing a “MAGA” hat holds up his hand dismissively, an angry expression on his face.

MAN: Why bother? Once Biden wins, they’ll announce a “cure” the next day.

PANEL 2

A man with a wide grin, wearing a fleece vest over a long-sleeved shirt, has a mask down around his neck, which he is pointing to with one hand.

MAN: I am wearing a mask! Around my neck IS wearing it!

MAN: Ha-HAH! You’re wiggling in the mighty claws of my invincible logic!

PANEL 3

A woman with long blonde hair, wearing a shirt with short, puffy sleeves and a red skirt with a pattern of white dots, stands with her arms folded, looking angry. Behind her is a stone wall, with some trees visible above the top of the wall.

WOMAN: Early on scientists said NOT to wear masks. When scientists change their minds because they’ve learned more, that PROVES they can’t be trusted!

PANEL 4

A man with very round wide eyes, and a huge wide grin, holds up a forefinger to point at the sky. There are clouds in the background; coming out of one of the clouds is God’s head, drawn as an older Black woman, looking down at him.

MAN: If God wanted us to wear masks, we’d be born wearing masks, right?

GOD: Nope nope that’s totally wrong.

PANEL 5

A hand holds a smart phone. On the phone’s screen, a young man in a plaid shirt over a black tee-shirt speaks with a wide mouth, waving his arms in the air.

MAN: Masks are a CHINESE GLOBALIST BILL GATES BIOWEAPON ATTACK ON OUR FREEDOM! And that’s just SCIENCE!

PANEL 6

A balding man, wearing a collared shirt with a necktie and an open vest, speaks angrily, pointing to himself with one of his thumbs.

MAN: A MASK? Do I LOOK like a woman to you?

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE COMIC

The “do I look like a woman to you” man, looking a little confused, is speaking to Barry the cartoonist. Barry is wearing a surgical-style mask.

MAN: Toxic mascu-WHAT now?

Posted in Cartooning & comics | Comments Off  

Open Thread and Link Farm, The Thing With Feathers Edition

  1. There Is Only One Way Out of This Crisis: Expand the Court | The Nation
    “Win the Senate. Win the White House. Pass a bill expanding the court. That is how democracies work. And if Republicans win in the future and pass a different bill and add even more seats, so be it. That is also how democracies work.”
  2. Kidnapping: A Very Efficient Business | by Anne Diebel | The New York Review of Books
  3. GOP Leaders Are Using Weasel Words To Avoid Rejecting Trump’s Attempted Coup | Washington Monthly
  4. Does Anyone Really Change Their Votes? – POLITICO
    Among many other tidbits: Some independent voters are more partisan than the partisan voters.
  5. Opinion | Correcting the misinformation about Breonna Taylor – Radley Balko, The Washington Post
  6. How Democrats Are Preparing for Postelection Chaos – The Atlantic
    In 2000 Republican thugs took to the streets to stop votes from being counted, while Al Gore stayed above it all. That won’t happen again.
  7. What Joe Biden Can Learn From Jimmy Carter – The American Prospect
    Arguing that we need to greatly expand the number of judgeships, which used to expand with the population but haven’t in decades, causing courts to be seriously overburdened. And also a chance to restore some of the Carter-era diversity in who gets to be judges that Trump and others have undone.
  8. Judith Butler on the culture wars, JK Rowling and living in “anti-intellectual times”This Judith Butler interview – in which Butler adroitly and politely identifies and deflates the anti-trans assumptions hidden in the interviewer’s questions – is a joy to read.
  9. Christian Kroger employees sue for being forced to wear a heart on their uniform. They say it’s gay. / LGBTQ Nation
    The heart has like three colors on it, so they’ve decided it’s a rainbow, I guess?
  10. Democratic insiders set up a ‘war room’ to quickly kill the filibuster
    I find it interesting (and hopeful) that Harry Reid is now on the “kill it” side, although I wish he’d come to that conclusion 11 years ago.
  11. Legend of Korra is on Netflix: A look at its messy, complicated legacy – Vox
    I love Korra, but I have to admit that Avatar was a better show, mainly on the strength of better writing.
  12. Why You Should Trade Body Positivity For Fat Acceptance
    “…body positivity has forgotten its radical and political roots from when it first started as the fat acceptance movement.”
  13. Policing Is the Wrong Tactic for a Disease That Preys on Inequality
  14. Supreme Court: Why did liberals win so often in a conservative Court? – Vox
    Of course, if they succeed in getting a new justice seated to replace RBG, it’ll all become much easier for them.
  15. The Black American Amputation Epidemic
    “‘So what happens when a patient comes in and can’t afford a procedure that’s limb salvage? They eventually lose their limbs. They’ll present back to the emergency room with a rotten foot.’ And a surgeon would have no choice but to amputate.”
  16. Opinion | A ‘Safety Net’ That’s a Kafkaesque Mess – The New York Times And an alternate link.
    “Looking at the mess facing S.S.I. recipients who try to work, one feels that a terrible mistake has been made. But history tells a different story: this Kafkaesque nightmare was a deliberate choice.”
  17. Black Homeowners Face Discrimination in Appraisals – The New York Times And an alternate link.

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Cartoon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg


If you like these cartoons, help make them happen by supporting my patreon!


I don’t think there’s anything I can say about Justice Ginsburg that her many admirers haven’t said this week. She was an amazing woman, and the world is a bit bleaker with her gone.

I hope you like the cartoon, or take some comfort from it. I’m honestly nervous to show it to you; this is well outside of my comfort zone.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has ten panels, arranged as a 3×3 grid of nine panels, with a wide tenth panel beneath. All of the panels show a maroon wingback chair on an otherwise empty green hill.

PANEL 1

In the distance, just beyond the crest of the hill, Justice Ginsberg is looking towards us.

RBG: The notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy i s supposed to be.

PANEL 2

RBG has walked to just behind the chair as she continues to speak.

RBG: What greater defeat could we suffer than to come to resemble the forces we oppose in their disrespect for human dignity?

PANEL 3

RBG has sat in the chair and look angry, spreading her arms to make a point.

RBG: Throwing out the Voting Rights Act when it has worked and is continuing to work… Is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you’re not getting wet.

PANEL 4

Skies have been clear blue up to this point in the cartoon. They have turned a bit grayer, and there are white clouds in the sky.

RBG leans forward a bit in the chair, holding her hands together.

RBG: A gender line helps to keep women not on a pedestal but in a cage.

PANEL 5

A close-up of RBG, holding up a forefinger to make a point. For the first time in this cartoon, she’s smiling.

RBG: Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

PANEL 6

RBG has stood up and is walking off the page, with her back turned to us.

PANEL 7

The chair sits on the hillside, with no one around. The skies are a bit darker now, and the clouds are gray.

PANEL 8

From the right border of the cartoon, RBG leans in for a moment, like someone peering around a wall, to talk to us. She’s smirking a bit.

RBG: When I’m asked “when will there enough women on the Supreme Court,” and I say “when there are nine, people are shocked!

PANEL 9

RBG faces the viewer and shrugs.

RBG: But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.

PANEL 10

A much wider panels shows a slightly more distant shot of the chair on the hill. No one is in sight. The sky is much darker now, and dark clouds roll in from either side.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, In the news, Supreme Court Issues | Comments Off  

Cartoon: Why Would Anyone Think The GOP Wants To Suppress The Vote?


If you like these cartoons, please support them on my patreon! A $1 or $2 pledge really helps me out.


So this cartoon was written fairly recently,1 while the Trump administration’s Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, was seemingly ordering cutbacks, leading many people to worry that this was an attempt by Trump to make vote-by-mail ballots less likely to be counted.

This was my original idea for the final panel of this cartoon:

But I felt a lot of hesitation about that panel. Because while I was working on it, it was (and still is) a developing story. Is DeJoy actually trying to affect the elections? Or is he just trying to destroy a public service (he has investments in the Postal Service’s private industry competitors)? Or is he just an incompetent Trump crony thrust into a position he doesn’t understand (during hearings in the House, he seemed to know very little about the postal service, and claimed to not know who ordered the cutbacks)? All of these explanations seem possible.

And would anyone even remember this story a month or two from now?

I don’t want to spend a week or two working on a cartoon and then have it almost immediately be mooted by a changing news story. So even though I’d already put a lot of work into it, I almost didn’t finish this cartoon.

Then I read someone arguing that it’s unfair of accusing the GOP of trying to cripple the postal service to suppress voting, when they might have different (but also venal) motives. And I thought, if that’s true, whose fault is that?

The GOP has tried, again and again, to suppress the vote. If people are now quick to interpret what the GOP does as yet another attempt to suppress the vote, that’s entirely reasonable. It’s a reputation they’ve earned with considerable effort over many years.

And that’s a cartoon idea I feel a lot more confidence in.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a gigantic man – as tall as a two-story house – speaking to a bunch of voters. The giant is wearing a collared white shirt, striped tie, suit vest, and pants. He is white and balding and middle-aged, but looks quite strong. He is cheerfully grinning in every panel.

PANEL 1

The giant is destroying a small building – wood and a piece of roof and a chimney flying in all directions – by stomping on it. We can see the remains of a big wooden sign, which says “VOTE HERE,” being snapped in two by his shoe. A couple of alarmed human-sized people are watching him do this.

GIANT: I closed 542 polling sites in minority neighborhoods – but I also closed 34 voting sites in white neighborhoods. So it’s perfectly fair!

PANEL 2

The giant is holding a piece of parchment, which says “Voting Rights Act” in big letters. In his other hand he holds a paintbrush, dripping red paint. There’s a can of red paint open on the ground near the giant’s feet. A gigantic “X” has been painted on the parchment, over “voting rights act.” Six human-sized people are watching, one of them filming with a smartphone.

GIANT: The law is from 1965! Who needs voting rights now?

PANEL 3

On a city sidewalk, the giant is standing holding a long roll of paper, with “Voter Rolls” written at the top. The long roll of paper is on fair. A red gas can is on the sidewalk near the giant’s feet. A couple of human-sized people are also on the sidewalk, looking angry and aghast.

GIANT: Gotta purge Black vot — I mean, bad voters.

PANEL 4

The giant is standing on a path in a public park, a giant axe held resting on one shoulder, shrugging. There are trees and a little pond. The giant is talking to several human-sized people, who are listening looking skeptical and annoyed. Again, one person is filming with their cell phone.

GIANT: How could you think I’d try to suppress the vote?

  1. Actually, this paragraph was written almost a month ago when I posted this cartoon on Patreon, so it’s a bit less recent now. []
Posted in Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics | Comments Off  

Cartoon: Hush, Woman, The Strawfeminist Is Speaking


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I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of arguing with someone about politics, and it becomes obvious that they’re not actually responding to, or truly listening to, anything you’re saying; they’re just using what you say as cues for the already formed arguments they’re eager to use.

Obviously, that experience inspired this cartoon. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve seen people criticize or mock the slogan “believe women” by pretending it’s a slogan about courtroom standards and getting rid of due process – which it obviously is not. I wouldn’t say no feminist has ever used it that way – there are, after all, millions of feminists – but it’s definitely not the common usage, and pretending it is is just so intellectually dishonest and I GET SO FRUSTRATED AND

…And hence, this cartoon. I hope you like it!


I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word “hence” in a sentence before.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows the same thing: A man and woman walking through a hilly park – not side by side, but with him ten feet or so ahead of her. There are shrubs and trees and little pedestrian paths through the grassy hills. She is wearing big round glasses (“big round glasses: the cartoonist’s best friend”), shorts, and a  black tank top. He has a beard, and is wearing a bowling shirt with two thick vertical stripes, and black pants.

PANEL 1

GLASSES is talking and making an “I’m just explaining things here” gesture, with her palms held out in front of her. BEARDY is looking grumpy as he talks back.

GLASSES: “Believe women” means that if a woman says she’s been raped, we shouldn’t reflexively dismiss her story.

BEARDY: So courts should just assume men are guilty?

PANEL 2

Glasses looks a little annoyed, putting one hand on her hip. Beardy is smirking.

GLASSES: I’m not talking about courtrooms. What if a friend tells you she’s been raped by a man?

BEARDY: So feminists hate men! Funny, that’s just what I thought.

PANEL 3

Glasses looks even grumpier; Beardo is raising his voice a bit.

GLASSES: I don’t hate men. But I have to keep in mind that any man could potentially be a rapist.

BEARDY: So you admit you think all men are rapists!

PANEL 4

Glasses is now shouting, her hands balled into fists. Beardo looks positively cheerful.

GLASSES: Are you listening to me at all?!?

BEARDY: No, thanks, I already ate.

Posted in Anti-feminists and their pals, Cartooning & comics, Feminism, Feminism, sexism, etc | Comments Off  

Cartoon: Transgenderism Is Coming! Run Away!


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Hi, folks!

This week1 I’m moving out of the studio I’ve been in for… 12 years? Longer? (Update: ten years.) A very long time. It’s been an amazing space to work in, but the building owner has new uses in mind. And all good things end eventually.

Me and some friends already have a new studio rented, but I’ve put off actually packing and moving until the very last moment. (My lease on the old space runs out this Friday!).

So I lettered this cartoon, and am typing this message to you, from an oddly empty room, with most of the furniture gone and piles of packed cardboard boxes around. It’s a bit surreal, but moving always is.


So anyway… This cartoon! The art is by Becky Hawkins, who did an amazing job. I just love the variety of expressions and little movements she put in there. (It was also Becky’s idea to have it be a cable TV yapping show of some sort; in my original sketch, it was just three people talking on zoom.)

This cartoon is about a specific aspect of the so-called “cancel culture” issue – pronouns and the supposedly apocalyptic results of getting a pronoun wrong. Many of my friends and acquaintances are transgender in various ways, and – being a big dork – I’ve more than once gotten people’s pronouns wrong. It’s something I’m especially liable to do if I haven’t known the person long, or if I have known the person long but they’ve only recently announced their pronoun preference.

Nine hundred and ninety nine times out of a thousand, there’s really nothing more to it than saying “oops, sorry” and moving on. But that’s not how right-wingers – most of whom have never known any out transgendered people outside of Twitter – tell it. Their interest – both emotional and, in the case of media personalities, financial – lies in demonizing transgender people as much as possible. And they egg each other on to greater extremes. (“Transgenderism is the new fascism” is something I actually saw somebody say!)

So this cartoon is an attempt to illustrate – and make fun of – that dynamic.


The original last line of this cartoon was “Thanks! So, about lunch…,” but that line rang really untrue in the age of Covid, so I changed it to them talking about a YouTube video.

With Portland so much in the news this month, I’ve more than once found myself reassuring out of state friends and relatives that I’m perfectly safe and things are actually very quiet here (everything you see on the news takes place in approximately six blocks of downtown). It reminded me of this cartoon Becky and I created almost a year ago. But looking at the last panel of that cartoon actually makes me sad, because that entire style of living has been cancelled, and who knows for how long, by Covid.

(A very, VERY minor silver lining: I do feel that my visual vocabulary for showing people talking over the internet has really been expanded by Covid.)


 

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus an additional tiny “kicker” panel underneath the cartoon.

The first three panels all show some sort of news or talk show, in which the screen is divided “zoom” style to show three pundits who are talking to each other from separate locations. There’s a large window, for whomever is currently speaking, and then two smaller windows with the other two pundits.

The three are: A white man with a beard and mustache, in front of a cityscape background; a white woman with brown hair and a blue blouse, in front of red-white-and-blue stripes; and a white woman with blonde hair and an off-white blouse, with a framed something on the wall and a houseplant behind her. I will call these characters CITYSCAPE, STRIPES, and HOUSEPLANT.

At the bottom of the largest window, a chyron – which is the word for captions at the bottom of news programs – displays changing messages. It is presumably scrolling, so not all of each message fits on screen at once.

PANEL 1

Cityscape looks angry; the other two look grimly concerned.

CITYSCAPE: These “transgenders” jump down your throat if you don’t use their “preferred pronoun.” That’s why I’m not friends with any.

CHYRON: …ew study proves liberals are stupid…

PANEL 2

Houseplant, in the main window, is making airquotes. Stripes is screaming, her fists raised in the air. Cityscape has his arms crossed and looks serious.

HOUSEPLANT: I don’t know any “gender nonbinaries,” but I heard that anyone who uses the “wrong” pronoun is fired and blacklisted!

STRIPES: Transgenderism is the new fascism!

CHYRON: …God hates who you whate, says sour…

PANEL 3

Stripes, now in the main window, looks very frightened and wide-eyed, like she’s about to cry. In the smaller windows, Cityscape looks sad and Houseplant is shaking her head with her arms akimbo.

STRIPES: Can you imagine the Hell of actually associating with these people? Watching every word… Living in constant fear… Knowing that the slightest misstep means you’re cancelled! Forever!

CHYRON: Scientist: Watching Fox cures cance…

PANEL 4

This panel shows a person with curly hair in a low ponytail and a purple shirt holding up a tablet. On the tablet’s screen we can see the other person in the conversation, who has glasses and bright pink hair. Ponytail looks concerned, Pinkhair is smiling and looks cheery.

PINKHAIR: By the way, you said “he.” I use “they.”

PONYTAIL: Oops! Thanks, I’ll try not to do that again.

PINKHAIR: Thanks! Hey, did you see that turtle video?

TINY KICKER PANEL UNDER THE CARTOON

An angry short-haired white man is yelling and pointing at Barry, who looks taken aback.

ANGRY MAN: This cartoon is bull! I “misgender” transgenders for fun on twitter all the time, and lots of them get angry!

  1. Actually, this was written and posted to Patreon back in July. []
Posted in Cartooning & comics, Transsexual and Transgender related issues | Comments Off  

Cartoon: Are you GENUINELY Poor?


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This cartoon is based on a cliche I’ve heard so many times – that poor people aren’t “really” poor, and so don’t deserve help, if they have a phone/big TV/smartphone/microwave etc. Basically, any consumer durable. (“Consumer durables are a category of consumer products that do not have to be purchased frequently because they last for an extended period of time (typically more than three years”)). It’s not enough to be food insecure, in danger of eviction, and not knowing where the money for utility bills will come from – if you’re not suffering in every single way, this thinking goes, you’re not really poor and don’t really deserve help.

For example, the Heritage Foundation grouched that “the typical poor household, as defined by the government, has a car and air conditioning, two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR.”

(Color televisions! I love that they specify “color.” How does the Heritage Foundation think poor people could even find the black and white TVs that they presumably think are all poor people should have? I guess they could use a time machine, except probably Heritage wouldn’t approve of poor people owning that, either.)

It’s particularly ridiculous to hear people complaining about cars and phones – two items that are actual necessities for many people who’d like to be part of society. And they’re often necessities for being able to find a job, or to find a better job.

Hence, this cartoon.

The most interesting challenge about drawing this cartoon was the need for change without changing: To see these two characters on three different days, but with their personalities, social roles and circumstances unchanged. So each of them had to have three sets of clothes, and I needed to draw what looked like three slightly different parts of the same general area. My collaborator Frank Young, who did the colors, did a really bang-up job on making the panels look like different times of day.

In hindsight, I think I could have done it better – really, there’s no reason all three locations had to be on the same sidewalk – and hopefully I’ll take that and do better next time this comes up. But I’m still pleased with how this came out.

The figures were fun to draw. The villain is a perfect Barry character – super exaggerated expressions and a huge mouth. The other character was more of a challenge, since he had to be downbeat and restrained without being boring to look at.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows two men: A not-wealthy looking man with shaggy hair and some stubble, and a bald man in glasses, wearing a business suit and tie. Each panel shows them at a sidewalk with grass growing in the background.

PANEL 1

Shaggy is wearing a wrinkled collared shirt and jeans. Necktie is wearing a gray suit with a tie with a dot pattern.

It’s bright daytime. Shaggy, with his back turned to Necktie, is looking at and poking a smartphone, and, in the helpful way people so often do in the first panel of my cartoons, talking aloud to himself. Necktie is turning to look at, and yell at, Shaggy.

SHAGGY: I can’t find a job and I’m out of money… Time to google “food stamps.”

NECKTIE: Food stamps are for people who are genuinely poor. If you were poor, you wouldn’t own a smartphone, would you?

PANEL 2

A caption says “one week later.”

From the light, it appears to be early evening. Shaggy is wearing a plaid shirt and Black pants, and has a backpack; Necktie is wearing a pinstripe suit and a tie with horizontal stripes.

Shaggy is looking worried and has a hand on his chest; Necktie is sternly talking to, and pointing at, Shaggy.

SHAGGY: I sold my phone, but now I’m out of money again.

NECKTIE: So sell your car. No one who owns a car is poor.

PANEL 3

A caption says “one month later.”

The same two men, on a similar patch of sidewalk. Shaggy is wearing sweatpants with a stripe down the side, and a hole in one knee, and a tee shirt. Necktie is wearing a dark blue suit, a black shirt, and a light-colored necktie.

Shaggy is sitting on the curb, slumping, looking down both literally and metaphorically. Necktie, talking to Shaggy, looks very cheerful.

SHAGGY: Now I’ve got no money for food, no phone for job hunting, and no car to get to a job!

NECKTIE: Excellent! Now you’re genuinely poor!

PANEL 4

The same scene, a moment later. Shaggy, looking hopeful, is looking up at Necktie. Necktie folds his arms and grins even more.

SHAGGY: So now you’re okay with me getting food stamps?

NECKTIE: Nope!

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Economics and the like | Comments Off