Jun 8, 2015
Between American newspaper publishers, Islamic radical murderers, Assad's Syrian thugs and now Tehran's Revolutionary Court...it's truly amazing editorial commentary still exists anywhere in the world today.
Specifically, a 28 year old Iranian artist-activist Atena Farghadani has ben sentenced to a 12 year prison sentence for expressing her opinion. Her visual opinion posted here depicts Iran's parliamentarian's with the heads of animals. Now I really don't know how they, meaning Iran's parliament could've read that these animal headed voters were themselves portrayed....unless of course they ACTUALLY DO look like these animals. I mean there were no labels or any other forms of identification as to who was who....so Atena must've really captured their likenesses.
To underline the chilling effect of this travesty. Atena's cartoon did not appear in a major metro newspaper or any kind of televised broadcast. As far as I am aware it wasn't even published by any news organization. Atena's cartoon was posted on her own personal Facebook page.
If the Iranian parliament was truly concerned about being portrayed as animals they wouldn't be acting like animals. Instead they proved Atena's opinion to be super true...as their animal actions speak louder than Atena's cartoons. If you use your power of the state to make an example of what happens to somebody who speaks truth to power....you are an animal.
Atena, has less than two weeks to appeal her sentence. Letter writing campaigns are sprouting up along with her foreign cartooning colleagues, using their visual skills to draw their own cartoons about the theocracy called Iran. I'll have mine posted on my own web site and FB page tomorrow.
Not only are they, the Iranian parliament and it's system of justice animals, they are very stupid animals. Stupid because, they have taken an image from social media and elevated it to world-wide prominence and exposure that could not be bought. This is just the stupid animals way of telling everybody that they are now entering the Twilight Zone of power. A majority of Iran's citizens were born after the revolution so the supreme leader's biggest concern shouldn't be about perceived insults.
Remember the JFK quote...Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
Sadly our world is quickly becoming more and more of a One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest insane asylum. If anybody deserves to be locked up for over a decade it's the people who have the power and will to Kill the Messenger.
May 20, 2015
What the f**k was George Stephanopoulos thinking when he wrote not one, not two, but three checks totaling $75,000. to the Clinton Foundation!!!(?) He spent $75,000, of his own money to totally destroy his own journalistic credibility.
ABC was already taking a gamble on hiring a political creature to read the news and ask politician questions. Now the bottom line is ...ABC lost the gamble. They put all their money on George and spun the wheel and lost big.
Anybody in journalism- all you really have is your credibility. Credibility to ...not ask the tough questions....but the credibility to ask ANY questions. Now for the foreseeable future anytime any ol' George asks anybody any questions the viewer will be thinking about his political check writing to Bill and Hillary.....two political creatures who are drowning in money.....and why did he do it...? Was it worth it....? Why did you risk a $105 million ABC contract....? How stupid can you be...?
Why did he do it....? I can only say, it was/is karma's way of saying- you're just being paid way too much money for whatever you're doing.
May 19, 2015
Two years ago a truck traveling on I-5 knocked out the support beams for the Skagit River Bridge and it collapsed into the water 38 feet below. Luckily for everybody no one was killed. Not so much for the hundred of businesses, shoppers and drivers who depend on that economic lifeline. For a good month traffic was backed up on other smaller, slower bridges while the I-5 Skagit bridge was repaired.
We dodged a bullet...but for some reason we (we as in U.S. citizens) continue to ignore our aging infrastructure. Not only are our bridges and roads aging but the vehicles and loads we're putting on them are growing in size and weight...not to mention the increasing number of vehicles on the road.
It's amazing that how important our infrastructure is to our economic bottom line, yet how little we care about it ...until it isn't there.
Something happened to the American mental mind about 35 years ago...and it wasn't pretty. In fact it was the very worst thing that could happen to our country. Too many voters believed in Ronald Reagan's "Government is not the solution, government is the problem." Ever since then a lot of voters and politicians drank that Kool-Aid and now it is a weirdly respected and accepted belief system. A belief that we can continue cutting taxes and expect our government to do more with less resources. We don't have to invest anything into our infrastructure and it will automatically evolve and never age and never need any kind of maintenance.
So- America get used to collapsing bridges and other failing aspects of our infrastructure at the same time other countries have ALREADY built bullet and Maglev trains. I guess American Exceptionalism IS the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations.... we ignore while they invest.
May 18, 2015
Today, 35 years ago I was living in Chicago when I heard that Mt. St. Helens finally blew it's top. I stayed plastered to the TV most of the day watching the lahar flows create a brand new environment out in the Pacific NW. I remember authorities had been warning residents for weeks to get away, far away from the possible blast zone. TV stations had also interviewed Harry Truman the 83 year old caretaker of the Mount St. Helens Lodge which transformed him into a soon to be martyred celebrity.
All I knew about the eruption was what I saw on the TV and read in the papers. Interestingly, the most memorable part of the eruption (for me) wouldn't take place until seven years later when I was working for a daily newspaper in Spokane, Washington. Since Spokane was north east of the volcano it was the first major metro area in line for the ash fallout.
Dorothy Powers was an editorial writer and columnist who shared with me and a few others from the editorial page her remembrances of that day just seven years earlier. This was the first, first-hand, remembrance of the (any) volcano eruption I had ever heard. In addition, what made it even better was that Dorothy was a GREAT story teller.
Dorothy and her husband, Elwood had been out (away from ANY media) all day and were driving home and noticed that it was getting strangely dark outside. As they traveled through a rural area they couldn't help notice the darkness seemed to be caused by the gray flakes falling from the sky. They also saw cows laying down in the abnormally surrealistic gray and deserted landscape. Their minds started racing and being a more political versus science couple, Dorothy and Elwood seriously believed they might be driving through nuclear fallout. Ronald Reagan had been president for less than 6 months and after much media talk about the cowboy and the button, maybe this was it...! Turning on the car radio to see what was happening and not being able to get ANY reception as they continued to see more cows on the ground, it only increased their panic level.
Even though they eventually found out the truth for ash piling up outside...they never forgot that weird eerie feeling that we were now possibly in a nuclear war.
That was a natural disaster...two years ago this weekend was a man made accident disaster ....the Skagit River Bridge collapse.....which I'll write about tomorrow.
May 10, 2015
Wow- the day before National Cartoonists Day and we have the results of the first annual Draw Muhammad Cartoon Contest.
Just another cartoon contest...... that produced three shot- two dead...fortunately the two dead were the terrorists. The winning cartoon can be seen at the winner's site link above. The winner, Bosch Fawstin won both the $10,000. grand prize AND the $2,500. People's Choice Award. Congrats Bosch.
Pam Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative baited the 'Kill the Messenger Crowd' and they bit. Specifically, Pam set her trap down in Garland, TX too bag herself some disaffected ISIS wannabes. SO, now we're fighting ISIS here outside the art galleries of mid-America.
Some say that Ms Geller is a media whore or they should say a media john, who used her money to buy what she wanted- publicity. World wide publicity, the kind of publicity that easily translates into some strange credibility. It only cost her $12,500. prize money for cartoons another $10,000. or so for extra security and some more thousands for the venue, marketing, speakers, and catering....oh and the two seventh century literalist lives. Such a deal.
These two mass-murderers to be, drove from Phoenix to Garland, TX and were armed with the weapons to accomplish their weird interpretation of the Koran.
Personally, my opinion is split on Ms Geller, as it is on Fred Phelps and Larry Flynt as I believe all three have/had more hate for their targets than they have love for the First Amendment. On the other hand, I may disapprove of what they say but I'll defend to the death their right to say..... whatever. Welcome to America
May 5, 2015
May 5, 1895 is the anniversary of the first ever color cartoon, The Yellow Kid. This is supposed to be a day of celebration for the art of cartooning. But after reading the above links I guess just staying alive financially AND literally is today's reason for celebrating ....if you're a cartoonist.
Weird that the number of newspaper comic strips are shrinking. Many editorial cartoonists have gone over to the funny side of cartooning to survive financially. Those cartoonists could read the writing on the wall that the journalistic environment where thoughts, issues and ideas were expressed, shared and debated on the editorial pages of their community newspaper was dead and gone. Besides, I'm sure they were very happy not having to deal with upset readers and editors.
It's weird because, newspapers know the their readers love comic strips and yet they are still dumping them. SO- it doesn't matter how funny, socially relevant and entertaining your comic strip is....as a comic strip cartoonist, you're on the endangered species list.
I've received my share of hate mail, death threats, newspaper closings, lay-offs, pay cuts, and more than my share of libel lawsuits. So- I guess I should be celebrating the fact that I've survived as long as I have. Financially surviving was in the past, we're now in the future where surviving as a cartoonist now means considering a kevlar vest and arming oneself.
IF the visual depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is blasphemous and the blasphemer is to be punished by being murdered. What is the justification for killing people who have never drawn any cartoon of anybody, ever...? Maybe, a drawing a Muhammad is just a flimsy justification for a terrorist to murder anybody that is in your way to murdering other people.
Happy ? Cartoonist Day
Apr 28, 2015
Monday April 27 Foreignpolicy.com reported that online Jihadis had been calling for the murder of Australian and American cartoonists. They may be talking about the provacative Australian cartoonist, Larry Pickering but I believe they would get a lot more mileage with an attack on an American commentator, on U.S. soil. I also believe the terrorists are more interested in a little Muhammad Cartoon Contest put on by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. AFDI is an anti-Muslim right-wing hate group that is intent on picking a fight with whatever right-wing Muslim hate group will take their bait. AFDI claims that they are sticking up for America's freedom but the more I learn about them the more I feel they just have a lot more hate for Islam then love of America.
Apr 14, 2015
I was interviewed by KIRO radio's Jason Rantz last night about the Kaden Lum cartoon. Jason disagreed with the cartoon and even though he acknowledged the use of Kaden in the cartoon, he was ready to debate gun rights.
Apr 13, 2015
So, another defenseless child is shot. No, it wasn't at school like Amina Kocer-Bowman the eight year old girl who was sitting at her desk when she was shot by a classmate who just dropped his backpack on his desk causing the weapon to fire.
Neither was it like the Marysville-Pilchuck High School mass murder/suicide. Nor was it at a movie theater, a Wal-Mart, some other place of employment, a political gathering....or in the family van, like a police officer in Marysville, WA. Yes- I said police officer who knew his son had a fascination with guns and then left four children alone with a loaded weapon with the safety off. The end result was his three year old son shot and killed his seven year old daughter.
This time this defenseless child was asleep in his bed, in the middle of the night. In his BED...!...you can't get a safer place than where you sleep. This child's name was Kaden Lum. A beautiful little two year old boy just starting to enjoy life. A life needlessly cut short because of this country's perverse fascination with allowing any ne'er-do-well to purchase a gun.
So- I drew a cartoon showing the contrast between Kaden and our gun culture. I guess I just got tired of reading and seeing increasing and needless gun deaths. I realized I needed to say something, draw something that will lead to a debate that will change our society so there won't be anymore kids shot while they sleep. An editorial cartoon is graphic protest intended to provoke debate. It was published in the Kitsap Sun, April 5. I felt it was a safe cartoon because editorial cartoonists usually exaggerate to make a point. What I drew was pretty much undisputable, Kaden was remembered as an angel and America's Gun Culture more like a fallen angel.
Some of Kaden's family members were upset that I remembered Kaden by using his image to make a political point. So upset, I get the feeling that it may be because the political point is not one they would agree with. So upset, they want the editorial pages of all newspapers to be eliminated. So upset they want me and David Nelson, editor of the Kitsap Sun who published the cartoon to be fired. Well, so much for free speech where, I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it. We're all free to disagree with whatever ...and that even includes free speech and free expression.
There are a lot of sick people in this world...and quite a few have restraining orders against them, that do not allow them to purchase or posses any firearms. Our laws are a big part of our gun culture and restraining orders are one aspect of those laws. Another aspect of our gun culture- where the weapon possessed is justification to take the law into our own hands.
A restraining order fiasco playing out at about the same time was the Marysville-Pilchuck mass school shooting. The father of the shooter, who made the gun available, had a permanent restraining order, that didn't allow him to have any firearms. This gun culture is so sick 'n' sad....it turns out he had more weapons than he could even shoot at any one time.
I guess all gun owners are responsible.... right up until the moment they're not.
Mar 26, 2015
Brain damage leading to suicides, permanent disabilities and death at all levels of competition is starting to take it's toll on the sport. Now retirements from the NFL by players- not at the end of their careers, but just as they're beginning their dream career. It's where the football player has worked and strived for their entire life to be. Now the brass ring is just not that shiny anymore.
After the money is spent, the crowds have left and lights have gone out the only thing an athlete has left is their memories. If you don't even have your memories, well then the decision to retire becomes a lot easier to make. YES- even if you're a star rookie, looking to cash in on a big pay day career. If you don't have your health, you don't have anything.
With football players continuing to get bigger and stronger at all levels of competition I seriously doubt the number of concussions to go down.
Will Rogers once said....Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. The NFL is on the brain damage tracks with the whistle of CTE bankruptcy getting louder every year.
Players are just too big for themselves, their knees and the game. Part of the reason they're so big is that they don't have to be in good physical shape or health. In a 60 minute game there is just over 10 minutes of action...TOTAL. If you're only playing one side of the ball that's 5 minutes of physical action. That's why most lineman are closer to being obese that not being obese.
My suggestion for the NFL, is one they'll never agree to.
Require every player to play both offense AND defense. OMG, you mean play for an entire ten minutes for 16 weeks for a multimillion dollar paycheck...?? The game may slow down a bit but then this isn't a track meet, it's football. That ten minutes of action is broken up by 50 minutes of catching your breath.
Instead of a game of designated position players the NFL should take a page from the National league of MLB. Everybody plays offense and defense.....to see who has the best team of 11 players.
The game would definitely change...I believe for the better....with less substitution and more action. Instead of a game of sprints, it would be more total conditioned athletes playing football instead of playing a certain skill set.
I guarantee, those 350lb lineman will be dropping weight real quick. Yes- they'll be slowing down as everybody will be slowing down. They won't be hitting as hard and there won't be as many concussions.
Oh, you're worried about concussions...? Go ahead, eliminate the extra point....but that's not going stop a former NFL player from shooting himself in the chest so they can donate their brain to CTE research.