March 31, 2008
March 30, 2008
Political junkies will remember way back last year, when it looked like Hillary had a clear road to an inevitable Democratic coronation. The Clintons quickly locked up commitments from party poo-bahs who wanted to snag the plum spots on the gravy train.
Several weeks ago, I submitted this effort to Opinion Page Editor Antonio Fins, a.k.a. Maximum Leader. It was spiked.
His Excellency speaks:
"Initially, when Chan emailed this cartoon for his Rejects Corner, asking for my take on it, my first thought was, I thought we ran it. But, obviously, no. And I can't exactly remember why I said no.
"There's nothing objectionable. Thinking back now, I am pretty sure I rejected this one because, at the time Chan proposed it, we had run a string of cartoons on the presidential race, both by Chan and from the syndicates.
"As editor, I'm not just making decisions about topics Chan draws, but also the ones that appear on our Op-Ed page. It's a lot of cartoons to juggle, and we try to shoot for variety.
"Anyway, I'm open to hearing what you Chanistas have to say...Yes? No? What think ye?"
I was delighted to see that in the interim period while this sketch was gathering dust, it proved to be prophetic. Politicians are, to quote Ernest Hemingway, "dependable within the gravity of the situation."POSTED IN: Cartoon Rejects (15)
March 28, 2008
The big lie
Yesterday, I heard on National Socialist Radio (a.k.a. NPR), my broadcast news provider of choice, that one in 10 Americans still believes that Barack Obama is a Muslim, despite all the recent brouhaha in the news about his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and his inflammatory comments. I checked with our editorial assistant in charge of handling nutty calls from readers, and she said that there had, in fact, been a down-tick lately in the almost three per day she had been fielding, demanding to know why we didn't do an expose on Sheik B. Hussein Obama's "Secret plan to turn America into an Arab country." (That's a direct quote).
Anyway, this got me thinking about the continuing misapprehension on the part of many of our compatriots that the Saudi terrorists on the 9/11 planes were actually Iraqis. I suddenly realized that with a brain-trust like this, the Bush Administration must think we'll believe just about anything they feed us. Well, almost.
March 27, 2008
The risk with running a cartoon like this is that there are some younger readers who won't make the historical connection and therefore miss the point. I have to strike a delicate balance between losing some people and beating others with a sledgehammer. If you don't let the reader perform the final connection in his own head, you make him a passive observer rather than a participant in the cartoon. Obviousness is the enemy of wit.POSTED IN: None
March 26, 2008
I've covered the legislature several times during my decades with this paper. The most exciting was the special session on abortion called some time in the late '80s by then-Governor Bob Martinez . There were demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in the streets, along with some rather appalling visual aids being waved around. But that's another story, and if I can ever dig up my combat-cartooning journalism from that time, I'll post it on this blog.
In the meantime, I recalled from my visits to our capital a phenomenon known locally as Tallahassee Tummy, a condition born of lobbyist-provided food and drink that is not quite as prevalent now in the era of restrictions on gift acceptance. There is still plenty of girth up there to go around, however, and it seemed ironic that those who cannot even control themselves are attempting to control the dress habits of school kids.POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)
March 25, 2008
McCain, Clinton, and Obama...the same old pols
No, I didn't draw this in response to angry Hillarylovers who ask why I'm always beating up on their warrior woman. I just call 'em as I see 'em, and right now I'm not seeing anything new or refreshing from anybody.POSTED IN: 2008 Presidential Campaign (79), Barack Obama (172), Hillary Clinton (26), John McCain (32)
March 24, 2008
Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the congressional elections
March 23, 2008
THE MOST POPULAR CARTOON YOU NEVER SAW...UNTIL NOW.
Talk about causing a stir. Remember that Malibu traffic stop, when Mel Gibson let loose on the sheriff's deputy with a drunken anti-Semitic diatribe? I'll let my top kick, Opinion Page Editor Tony Fins, do the 'splainin':
"I admit it. I laughed when Chan handed me this one. I'm laughing again now seeing it once more. It really is one of the funnier ones he's sketched, and easily the most biting. And I couldn't resist a bit of mischief myself.
"So, the day Chan drew it, must have been the fall of '06, I walked it down to Earl Maucker, our editor, and said, with a straight, determined face, 'How about this one?' Earl looked incredulous. 'Geez,' he said. 'You can't be serious. This is so over the top.'
"No, I confessed, I wasn't serious about using it. But Earl got a laugh out of it, too, and asked for the sketch so he could show it to others.
"But forget it. Don't even bother. It's not getting into print. Simply stated, its graphic sexual nature goes against our 'community' standard, so to speak. And Chan knows it. He knew it didn't have a prayer.
"I will say this much. It was this particular cartoon that gave me the idea of this feature for Chan's blog -- and yes, I came up with the concept that is now known as Rejects Corner. I figured this cartoon would be a hit on the Net, which isn't as prudish, and at least it's going to get some play now."
My two cents: I was getting so many requests from editors around the paper for copies of this cartoon that, once I was able to pry the sketch back from Earl, I actually finished it so that it would reproduce better. For added impact today, I added color.
Enjoy.POSTED IN: Cartoon Rejects (15)
March 21, 2008
High noon at the water cooler
One can only sit back and marvel at the high-caliber firepower wielded by the gun lobby in Tallahassee. Republicans are supposed to be against government butting into how businesses conduct themselves, except, apparently, when it comes to determining whether or not those businesses can be forced to allow firearms onto their own premises.POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)
March 20, 2008
Bush and Cheney's war
Thanks to the many comments that ran in response to my first "Reject Corner" posting, Sun-Sentinel Opinion Czar (and more important, my editor) Tony Fins has decided that it wouldn't realign the Earth's axis if we went ahead and ran the cartoon in the print edition after all. See? You DO make a difference.
Many of your responses, both pro and con, were remarkably thoughtful and intelligent, some even impassioned. My thanks to you for all of them. Herewith, the finished version of the cartoon as it will appear on our Opinion Page on Monday, March 24.
POSTED IN: War on Terror (50)
March 19, 2008
Oldie but goodie: Bill Clinton comes to Harlem
While we all seem to be preoccupied with the subject of race, I remembered this one from February of 2001.
The news hook is that Bill Clinton, known to some as "America's First Black President," had just moved his official post-Presidential office into a building on 125th Street in Harlem.
In early 2001, one month after he left office, he had not yet been "rehabilitated," and Monica was still fresh on everyone's mind. This explains the comment by the local resident.
Obama's speech on race
You don't necessarily have to be an Obama fan to agree that it was a great American speech, without any hyphenated qualifiers in front of the word, "American." The question is whether Americans were ready to hear it.POSTED IN: 2008 Presidential Campaign (79), Barack Obama (172)
March 18, 2008
Iraq, the fifth anniversary
This Month Five Years Ago
This ran March 23, 2003, four days after Operation Iraqi Freedom began. It seemed like a nutty policy then to pass a tax cut with a war just starting. It appears even nuttier now that we know the actual cost after five years. But since the whole thing is being conducted off the books, why worry?
March 17, 2008
Obama and Religion
However you may feel about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's preachings, at least it may help to drive a stake through the heart of that asinine rumor about Obama being a secret Muslim.
I'm sure some people will still manage to figure out a way to attack him on both counts, though.
Back by popular demand...Reject Corner!!!
When Rush Limbaugh's prescription drug list became public, it turned out there was one in there for what the TV ads euphemistically call an ED medication. This led me, naturally, to the question:
So here's another masterwork, spiked because of-- well, I can't pretend to read the mind of an editor. Editorial Page Editor Tony Fins provides us with a window into his thinking with the following observation:
"Ok, I'd rather not speculate about what Rush Limbaugh is doing in front of that Ann Coulter poster. So, I'll pretend that he's simply in line to buy Coulter's book. Or in line to buy Viagra. Or in line to buy both.
After I saw this cartoon, I thought about issuing a decree requiring Chan to draw folks' hands where we can see them. But that would have made this cartoon even more unbearable."
Frankly, I hadn't even thought about the hand issue until Tony brought it to my attention. I offered to draw the hands exposed, but the psychological damage had already been done. It got published in the circular file. What do you think? Does it flunk the "family values" test?
March 14, 2008
Hillary Clinton and race
POSTED IN: None
When I finished this cartoon, I realized it wasn't so much an opinion as a statement about the Clintons' political philosophy, which is "Win now at any cost. Smooth over hurt feelings later. Once you've won, people forget about the means you used." They could be wrong this time.
March 13, 2008
Spitzer, Kristen, and the media
Yes, I know...my own paper is guilty of it, too. She's splayed all over our homepage. That doesn't prevent me from commenting on my industry, though.
We have arrived at that nexus between what people want and what they need, a sore topic with those of us who still think of our profession as a calling.
We could dwell upon the complexities and nuance of a self-made Boy Scout like Eliot Spitzer falling in such a spectacular way. We could parse his psyche, his self-destructive bent, his narcissism. We could talk about how he put himself at risk of blackmail, how he instituted some of the very mechanisms that ensnared him.
But in the end, we really want to know about the SEX.
And if my paper didn't have any of it, we would get complaints. Or readers would turn somewhere else to get their news, somewhere that struck more of a balance between the spoonful of medicine and the sugar that helps it go down.
No readers, no advertisers. No advertisers, no space to run those stories about Charter Review Commissions and uprisings in Karachi that everybody should know about even if they don't want to.
This argument has no clear-cut answers. If you want to weigh in, feel free.POSTED IN: General Topics (188)
March 12, 2008
Florida Democratic Primary mail-in re-vote
If you thought it was chaos with the hanging chads, just wait for this little fiasco-in-the-making. Am I wrong?
POSTED IN: None
More of this month five years ago
We ran this cartoon on March 23, 2003, four days after the invasion of Iraq began. Stock prices soared in a patriotic wave of irrational exuberance...many felt the war would be short and sweet. "Mission Accomplished" was yet to come.POSTED IN: None
March 11, 2008
If yer gonna Spitzer...
In the age of Local-Boy-Makes-Good Mark Foley and Toe-Tappin' Larry Craig, this scandal seems hardly worthy of New York, and in fact is somewhat retro (remember Wilbur Mills and Fanne Foxe in the Reflecting Pool?) but, hey, it's all they have at the moment.POSTED IN: General Topics (188)
March 10, 2008
...to my new blog! In addition to daily updates of my most recent cartoons for the Opinion Page of the Sun-Sentinel, The Lowe-Down will be full of engaging features-- like animations, This Month Five Years Ago, the Reject of the Week, themed audio-visuals, and much more. Over time, we'll be building up topic-oriented galleries so you can go straight to cartoons about your favorite subjects.
I hope you enjoy the blog, and return to it often for updates. Please tell your friends about it, bookmark it, and most important, respond in the comments section.
POSTED IN: None
Hillary Clinton: Monster mash
It always makes my day to aim a cheap shot at Hillary, who lately has been deserving it, but even more attractive was the opportunity to poke fun at the politics of victimhood and political correctness.POSTED IN: None
March 9, 2008
Big Bill Clinton
I jump at any chance to do a cartoon about Bill Clinton. Whatever you think of him, his personality is larger than life, and his face is a caricature in itself. The best thing about Hillary's candidacy is that it's put him back on the political front burner, sucking all of the oxygen out of the room as usual. I think it was John Nance Garner who said the Vice-Presidency wasn't worth a bucket of warm...whatever. Whoever is crazy or desperate enough to accept the No.2 position on a Hillary Clinton ticket would probably be relegated to running the elevators in the Senate Office Building.
Animated South Florida perpetual calendar
Last year I produced a special project that proved to be popular with readers. It was a humorous look at South Florida culture as visualized in the form of a twelve-month calendar that could be reused over and over, since some of the things that distinguish our unique habitat never change.
Thanks to the help of some very talented people who have forgotten more about computers than I will ever learn, we are gradually animating the entire calendar, month by month.
Click on the blue word "January" below the thumbnail above to view the animated month of January. That's my voice you hear doing the narration.POSTED IN: Perpetual Calendar Animations (1)
Each week, I will try to show you an example of a brilliant idea that never ran in the paper due to narrow thinking or lack of imagination on the part of some editor.
In this particular case, I showed the above sketch to Editorial Page Editor Tony Fins, who said, "I don't get it."
I explained that Bush had indicated that he wanted the Guantanamo military tribunals to be conducted like the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War II. I looked up the counts upon which the Nuremberg charges were based, and lo and behold, Count One was "Conspiracy To Wage Aggressive War."
I thought this was rather ironic in light of the moral bankruptcy of our pretenses for going to war in Iraq, and felt that what was sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.
Editorial Page Editor Tony Fins' take:
"Unlike Chan, I'm not as well-versed on the language in the Nuremberg counts
and indictments. But I do know this much, we're not Nazis. It's not an
appropriate comparison, even if it's a joke."
Why don't you let us know if you think this cartoon was legitimate commentary, and should have run in the paper, or whether it was over the top and a cheap shot? If you're one of the few people left who still admire President Bush, please try to keep it clean.
This month five years ago: Iraq War begins
Whaddaya know...the Iraq War started five years ago this month. I looked back in my archives and found a bunch of cartoons that were eerily prescient, under the circumstances.
This one appeared on March 26, 2003, just one week after "Shock and Awe."
I'll be bringing you more as the month progresses.POSTED IN: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (52)
March 7, 2008
I see large SUVs, the Hummer in particular, as emblematic of why individual selfishness keeps us from solving our most critical problems.
Maybe you should be required to have a loved one fighting in Iraq in order to qualify for owning one.
If everybody had a hybrid, maybe we could tell OPEC to go drink petroleum mojitos.POSTED IN: General Topics (188)
'Roid rage reaches Congress
March 2, 2008
Stagflation's silver lining
The humor here (if you want to call it that), is on the dark side, which is a specialty of mine.POSTED IN: None
March 1, 2008
This was a sensitive subject, since the company that owns the Sun-Sentinel also happens to own the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.
When I came up with the idea, the sketch had to be approved all the way up to the publisher, Howard Greenberg. To their credit, both he and my editor-in-chief, Earl Maucker, approved it without reservations.POSTED IN: General Topics (188)