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April 28, 2008

The First Official Lowe-Down Cartoon Caption Contest has moved on to Phase II -- The Vote of the People! Note to readers: I'm keeping this at the top of the blog all week, so please scroll down for new posts.


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We've received an overwhelming number of entries, a few of which were truly inspired. After several long, bitter horse-trading sessions, Opinion Page Editor Antonio Fins and I have winnowed the number down to the ones we believe to be the best three.

Now, it's YOUR turn! You will have until Sunday night, May 4th, to register your preference by clicking on one of the captions listed above. The winner of the vote will receive the Grand Prize, an official Lowe-Down T-shirt and the reprinting of the cartoon and their caption, with credit, on the Sun-Sentinel's op-ed page, as well as here in The Lowe-Down.

As they say in Chicago, "Vote early and often!"

UPDATE!! On Day Two of the vote, the contest has gone international! In addition to votes from all over the United States, we now have a couple from Jamaica and one from Brazil.

The Three Finalists
"I keep telling him osmosis won't fill up the tank."
-submitted by Ashley

"911...Help, I need a hostage negotiator."
-submitted by Gary

"In a minute, Barbara. He's on a conference call with OPEC."
-submitted by Fred

POSTED IN: Cartoon caption contest (10)

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The Gas Tax Pander

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Asking a politician not to pander is like asking a shark not to bite into your thigh. I just wish they wouldn't so brazenly insult our intelligence. They assume we're all idiots...now THAT'S elitism.

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The economy--feeling the pinch

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This cartoon was inspired by a business story about a well-known coffee retailing behemoth whose quarterly profits were, shall we say, disappointing. There are certain not altogether fatuous economic indicators that many experts follow carefully, for example the Macaroni and Cheese Index. When average people really start hurting, sales of this particular foodstuff show a marked rise.

We hereby inaugurate the Latte Index, which drops in indirect proportion to the rise in economic woes.

POSTED IN: None

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Obama and the Rev. Wright

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Well, he's gone and done it. He definitively "divorced" himself from the Rev. Nutcase. If it were anybody else--say, a white person running for President-- that would probably be enough. But he isn't just anybody else. For many Americans, he brings with him the fear of the unknown, the strange.

Many in the chattering classes will continue asking the question, "Is it enough?" Since they're the ones who will decide if this story has legs, maybe they should be asking themselves that question, through the prism of their own prejudices. Speaking for the rest of us who put our pants on one leg at a time, I think there are more important things to worry about.

POSTED IN: None

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Jury still out on Scopes trial

FORWEDDCOLOR.gif I think everybody would agree that if one chooses to believe that the Earth was created in a week and that man emerged fully formed 6,000 ago, then it is his right and there is nothing wrong with it. Do the theological underpinnings for this belief belong in science class alongside the Theory of Evolution? About as much as Quantum Theory belongs in a church sermon. POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)

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The economy, the housing market, and your guzzler

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It almost seems like we went to sleep feeling smug about our brilliant real estate investment, and knowing that we could take the behemoth wherever we wanted on the slightest whim. We woke up the next day upside-down on the mortgage and searching desperately for that old pump in the garage so we could run quick errands on the bicycle.

POSTED IN: Economy (197)

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April 25, 2008

The worsening economy

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You know we're in trouble when fuel and food prices reach the point of threatening that sacred all-American summer activity, the family driving vacation. Fortunately, modern technology will enable us to enjoy this pastime without ever having to leave the comfort of our homes...the ultimate green getaway. Let's hear it for the virtual open road!

POSTED IN: None

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April 24, 2008

McChicanery in the campaign

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So let's just assume, for the sake of the argument, that I'm way off-base in thinking that John McCain wants to have it both ways. He tells the North Carolina Republican Party not to run a particularly damaging anti-Obama ad featuring the rantings of Rev. Wright, so that he can take a bow for being a stand-up guy, while knowing they'll run it anyway.

If, in fact, he told them in all sincerity that he doesn't want them to run the ad, yet they ignore their so-called standard-bearer, then what kind of a leader is he? If he can't handle some two-bit state GOP organization, how is he going to handle Congress, or for that matter, a stubborn, unpredictable world?

Take your pick: Mr. Straight Talk is either disingenuous or ineffectual.

POSTED IN: None

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Contest update!

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CONTEST ENTRY PERIOD CLOSES THIS SUNDAY NIGHT!!

Response to the first Official Lowe-Down Cartoon Caption Contest (see above) has been overwhelming! So much so, we have decided to close it down a week early so that our blue-ribbon panel of judges, Opinion Page Editor Tony Fins and myself, does not find the task of winnowing the entries too daunting.

Don't worry, thanks to the success of this one, there will be more contests and MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO WIN!

I will keep the contest open until this Sunday night, April 27th. After that, no more submissions will be accepted. Next Monday, Tony and I will choose what, in our opinion, are the three wittiest and most intelligent captions. They will be posted on the blog that night with buttons that readers can click on to register their preference. This Vote of the People will be open until the following Sunday night, May 4th, and the Grand Prize Winner will be announced with much fanfare in the blog the next day.

So those of you who have been holding back until now, stiffen your spines and send something in! Time's a-wastin'. If you've already graced us with the fruits of your funny bone, why not send in something else? It just increases your chances.

POSTED IN: Cartoon caption contest (10)

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April 23, 2008

Pennsylvania primary results

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This race is driving the Democratic Party bigwigs bonkers. The only Democrat who might have had the clout to step in and stop the carnage happens to be married to one of the candidates, and his stature is diminishing by the day, anyway.

Behind it all runs a leitmotif of Machiavellian psychobabble:

1: "She knows she'll lose, and she wants to make sure to destroy Obama on the way out. That way, McCain wins the general, and she comes back in four years as St. Hillary, the patron saint of I Told You So."

2: "Spite. If she's going to lose, she wants to take him and the party down with her as punishment for not picking her in the first place. How dare the vermin stand in her way?"

3: "She'll do anything to win, and worry about dealing with the hurt feelings later. The Clintons defined winning dirty. Her base, the shoulder-pad feminists of a certain age, see this as simply being tough in a tough world."

4: "The longer she manages to stay in, the higher the price she can exact for agreeing to get out. Governor of New York? Senate Majority Leader? Chief Justice Clinton?"

I believe all of it.

POSTED IN: None

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April 22, 2008

Privatizing Florida highways

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As we said in an editorial (a lot more intelligently), the legislature should cease and desist with its plan to lease out our highways to private companies in order to save money. Nothing good can come of this.

Don't worry--I agree that the talking animal shtick is a conceit that ought to be employed only rarely. It works, for example, when you use it to highlight the folly of humankind. It should not be abused or you start dipping into comic strip territory, and that leads to rotting of the brain.

POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)

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April 21, 2008

Taming the FCAT

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If you are willing to consider the legacy of the Bush brothers as a single consolidated entity, then there is a bright side: Nobody ever died taking the FCAT, at least that we know of. All the same, it is a tragedy of hubristic intentions spun out of control, leaving behind a landscape of recrimination, failure, and the dashing of aspirations. Jeb, being only the governor of a state, couldn't start a war, so his reach was limited.

It does make you ponder that wonderful "What if" parlor game anew: "What if Jeb had not lost his first race for Governor to Lawton Chiles, thereby becoming the Bush spawn first in line to be anointed President, instead of the dumb one?"

My answer? It probably wouldn't have made that much of a difference.

POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)

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April 20, 2008

Cartoon caption contest!!!

Here it is, Folks... a brand-new feature! The Official Lowe-Down Cartoon Caption Contest! Tell your friends!

I will leave the following cartoon up for two weeks while you scour your imaginations to come up with the most riveting, eye-popping caption to complete the visual thought I have presented. Post your entries as comments to the blog, so that everybody can see them. There is no limit to entries. At the end of the two-week period, a blue-ribbon panel of seasoned, vetted experts, consisting of myself and my editor, the learned Antonio Fins, will determine the top three captions. These will then be released on the blog and submitted to a Vote of the People to determine who shall win the Grand Prize.

The winner shall receive an Official Lowe-Down T-shirt. In addition, I will hand-letter the winning caption onto the cartoon, which will be reprinted (with credit to the author) on the Sun-Sentinel's Op-Ed Page and, of course, posted on the Lowe-Down.

Whaddaya say, all you frustrated cartoonists out there? Think you're up to the challenge?

Remember you must leave a real email address, so I can get back to you when you win. Any obscene or offensive postings will be disqualified and taken down.


LET THE CONTEST BEGIN!!!!


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POSTED IN: Cartoon caption contest (10)

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April 18, 2008

Pennsylvania Democratic primary

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This year, countries governed by all types of political systems are captivated by our electoral process. We stand before the world as a shining beacon of government of the people, for the...well, you know the script. Let's show them what REALLY matters, that is, when we're not thinking about American Idol.

POSTED IN: None

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April 17, 2008

Politics, the campaign, and instant patriotism

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Last night, at what was luridly billed as the "Showdown in Philly," the subject of why Barack Obama doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin came up. The condensed version of his answer, which he also gave during the debate, was that a person's deeds and the content of his heart are what define a patriot, not what he wears on his lapel or his automobile bumper.

This is a difficult, subtle, and nuanced argument to make in a political atmosphere where oversimplification reigns. He'll catch some heat from the Republicans for it, assuming he makes it to the general election. A good counter to this attack is that a thousand lapel pins won't cover up for the sins of promoting a war while neglecting the care and welfare of the wounded soldiers who executed it.

POSTED IN: None

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April 16, 2008

Florida's obstetrics crisis

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I admit this is a rather flip treatment of a serious problem. I ran it past a few colleagues when it was in rough form, asking if it was too silly. They all (women, by the way) gave me a variation on, "Silly works sometimes. It's funny enough to make it worthwhile, even if it's a little light on substance." Plus, I'd hit a wall on other ideas.

We can't be preachy ALL the time.

POSTED IN: None

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April 15, 2008

Biofuel and international food prices

Biofuel and international food prices

When you're standing there, gnashing your teeth at the gas pump, have you ever given thought to the fact that our insatiable appetite for gadding about in huge cars has caused so much land to be planted for corn to make ethanol that we're helping to drive up grain prices around the world? I hadn't either, until a short time ago.

So now people are starving--and rioting--so that we can have the freedom to take that impulse trip to the mall. It IS written into the Constitution, after all. Maybe these high fuel prices will force us, in our overriding self-interest, to re-think our responsibility to the rest of the world...

Nah.

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April 14, 2008

Barack Obama ...loose lips sink ships

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He ALMOST had it in the bag, and then the Fates played the hubris card, stepped in and handed Hillary a lifesaver. You'd think a guy as hip to modern technology as Obama would know that with all the personal gadgets people carry, there's no such thing as a closed-door fund raiser any more. Maybe he was lulled into complacency by the rivers of caviar and champagne at the Marin County Limousine Liberal get-together. As Ricky Ricardo might say, he's gotta lotta 'splainin' to do.


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April 11, 2008

Guns in the workplace redux

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The Florida Legislature, in its wisdom, passed the Guns in the Workplace bill and Gov. Crist says he will sign it. I, for one, feel safer in my workplace because of it.

Yes, I have complete faith that a concealed weapons permit also confers the judgment, clarity of thought, and ability to make the correct decisions in high-pressure situations that we expect of all our artillerymen and -women. Fortunately, since those records are sealed, I have no way of knowing whom among my colleagues has the right to tote. That's probably a good thing, because if I did I'd be terrified.

POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)

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Dick Cheney's pornographic sunglasses

Every once in a while something gets handed to you on a silver platter. I got busy right away. Below, the controversial photo:

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Here is my take:

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POSTED IN: General Topics (188)

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April 10, 2008

Protesting the Olympics

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The Chinese, in their ancient wisdom, have provided us with the bond that unites mankind.

Drawing the Earth gives me a rare opportunity to use my compass, which normally lies around in a drawer waiting to stick me in the finger when I'm scrounging around for an eraser or something.

POSTED IN: None

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April 9, 2008

Another slideshow!!

Since caricature is the mother's milk of cartooning, I put together this gallery of faces from politics and popular culture, some of which date back to the Elian Gonzalez era, as you will recognize. Make sure you turn up the volume, and wear headphones if you're in the office.

I'll be interested in hearing what you think. Click here if you missed my earlier slideshow, titled PetToons.

POSTED IN: Slideshows (3)

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Reject corner!!!

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That's right--another brilliant effort, brutally snuffed by a Pollyanna-ish bigwig. This was inspired by the Bush Administration's decision that restoring the mighty River of Grass should no longer be a federal priority. Nice way to treat the state that put you in office, but we won't go there yet again. I thought this was a succinct, bitingly appropriate comment on the President's callous attitude.

My boss, Dr. Antonio Fins, had other ideas, to wit:

"The Bush bashers would have loved this one, no doubt. But, sorry, no. This one got axed for the same reason that another one, of Uncle Sam throwing up over the side of an aircraft carrier, or some Navy ship, got axed. Bodily functioned-themed cartoons really just aren't for our pages.

"That said, one of a poodle peeing on someone's leg, Tony Blair maybe?, got in 'cause I took it to our editor on appeal and he thought it was fine. But I follow the precedent set by my predecessor, who sided more with clever, original humor.

"I enjoy a good laugh as much as anyone, and Chan can testify that humorous cartoons are my preference. But punch lines driven by someone peeing on someone or puking on someone are cliche and overdone."

My take: These are EDITORIAL CARTOONS, for crying out loud. It may be overdone--that's my business, after all. But cliche? I take umbrage.

With whom do you agree?

POSTED IN: Rejects (5)

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Iraq and domestic politics

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You'd have to be a little off to want to be President at a time like this. Fortunately, there are a lot of unrestrained egos out there. It's not hard to see the cynical plot developing on the part of the Republicans. Stay the course in Iraq that has no defined ending. Put up some doddering warhorse like McCain who will go down in flames like Bob Dole before him, and leave the impossible choices to the Democrats, who will have gotten elected on the promise that they would clean things up. The resulting chaos in the Middle East and high gas prices will guarantee G.O.P. electoral victories for decades to come.

POSTED IN: None

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April 8, 2008

Abortion and the Florida legislature

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With all the serious problems this state has, the Republican-dominated legislature always manages to find the time to address this subject in an election year. Gay marriage, in recent years, has become another reliable vote-getter. It's one of those amazing natural phenomena that the fate of the unborn and the sanctity of heterosexual marriage never seem to be under threat in years that end with odd numbers.

POSTED IN: None

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April 7, 2008

Hillary's tax returns

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As one woman I know (and obviously not a Hillary fan) put it, "She grows up in an upper middle-class suburb of Chicago. She attends a prestigious Seven Sisters college. She goes to law school, meets and marries this guy who goes on to become governor of Arkansas. He wins the Presidency. After she's through being First Lady, she searches around for a Democratic state to carpetbag into and wins the Senate race based on her last name. Now she's running for President with that same basic qualification: her last name. Give ME some of that discrimination!"

Let's hear from you, Girls.

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April 4, 2008

Campaign 2008, Florida, and the Convention

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Everything we do in Florida--waiting in a movie line, driving on the Interstate, even performing our jobs now that we're about to have a guns in the workplace law, follows a kind of social Darwinism. It makes just as much sense to predicate the seating of our delegation upon this principle as upon any of the other solutions they're discussing. It would make for great TV, too.

POSTED IN: None

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April 3, 2008

Recession and the Fed

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What are we supposed to think when the man who is supposed to be tuned into every nuance of the economy finally cottons to what the rest of us have known for months? It gives you a warm feeling, right in the ulcer.

POSTED IN: Economy (197)

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April 2, 2008

Cuba enters the 20th Century

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With absurd fanfare, the Cuban government allows its people to possess things they cannot afford. Sounds like our own credit card business.

I had fun drawing this cartoon.

POSTED IN: International (86)

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April 1, 2008

Fruits of the Legislative Session

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Sure, you have a right to be proud of your roots. Sure, you have a right to display your pride. But, just because it's your right, is it the moral thing to do to engage in an activity that drives a dagger through the hearts of so many brother Americans? Is one's self-esteem that in need of propping up?

That's a matter of taste and choice. But it is definitely wrong to make the state complicit by placing its official imprimatur on a symbol that so many of its citizens find offensive.


POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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