The Lowe Down | Political cartoonist Chan Lowe's take on current issues and the news of the day | Sun Sentinel blogs

The Lowe Down


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May 30, 2008

Florida 2008 hurricane season prep

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There is a school of thought (to which I do not subscribe) which holds that we are already loaded up with supplies from last year, and that is why nobody is doing anything to get ready.

I prefer to think of it as good old-fashioned Florida memory loss. The lines at the home centers right before the next hurricane will make waiting for the Early Bird Special look like a picnic by comparison.

POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)

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May 29, 2008

The McClellan Apostasy

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What's interesting about the White House's coordinated response to the kiss-and-tell by Scott McClellan is that the inner circle is focusing on his disloyalty and base motives for writing the book, rather than attacking its accuracy. I guess you go with your strengths.

Washington protocol has always held that the rats only desert the ship once it has sunk. McClellan seems to be getting a head start, maybe because he knows that a coming torrent of post-Bushian curtain-lifters will dilute the market for the genre. Let the book deals begin!

POSTED IN: President Bush (36)

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May 28, 2008

Campaign 2008: Bush and McCain, the Two Amigos

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Seventy-two percent of Americans are sick of President Bush. Among the remaining twenty-eight percent are the ones with all the money. One of the more amusing diversions of this campaign will be to watch John McCain's contortions as he tries to embrace the fundraising pig without getting the smell all over him.

I would almost feel sorry for W. (stands for "Who?" in McCain's vocabulary) if his bumblings had not been so destructive. Even his own former flack is stabbing him in the back to sell books ("Et tu, McClellan?"). So much for the vaunted Bush team loyalty.

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May 27, 2008

Phoenix Mars Lander meets Campaign 2008

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I'm back in the saddle. Thanks to all of you who read my flashbacks on the blog while I was away.

One of the more enjoyable aspects of this job is combining seemingly unrelated topics in the news. I have developed these generic Martian characters over the years, and employed them in a variety of contexts. Originally, they had two eye stalks and a hand coming out of the chest, along with a mouth somewhere in the abdominal region and a single prognathous tooth. Now they boast only one optical appendage and a right foot.

I cannot take credit, however, for the character in the pantsuit.

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May 26, 2008

Flashback Five Memorial Day Monday

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While I'm away from the blog this week, I'm posting some cartoons I drew exactly five years ago, when the Iraq war was in its infancy, so you can see how the world has changed or not changed in the meantime. I thought the exercise in armchair quarterbacking might be informative.

This cartoon made me saddest of all when I dug it up. Since the war began, we have been appalled that a nation as great as ours could treat its returning warriors so shabbily, and that our priorities could be so misplaced.

When it was first published, I got some angry comments from vets who felt the VA was doing its job beautifully, and how dare I cast any aspersions upon it. But that was five years ago.

It seemed appropriate to run again on Memorial Day.

POSTED IN: Cartoons from Five Years Ago (38)

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May 24, 2008

Flashback Five Friday

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While I'm away from the blog this week, I'm posting some cartoons I drew exactly five years ago, when the Iraq war was in its infancy, so you can see how the world has changed or not changed in the meantime. I thought the exercise in armchair quarterbacking might be informative.

This was drawn back when a majority of Americans still felt we had done the right thing to invade. Bush still had stratospheric approval ratings, but we were beginning to wonder what happened to the stated excuse for the war, that being the weapons of mass destruction.

POSTED IN: Cartoons from Five Years Ago (38)

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May 22, 2008

Flashback Five Thursday

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While I'm away from the blog this week, I'm posting some cartoons I drew exactly five years ago, when the Iraq war was in its infancy, so you can see how the world has changed or not changed in the meantime. I thought the exercise in armchair quarterbacking might be informative.

We used to have a symphony orchestra here, the Florida Philharmonic. It died of slow financial strangulation. Here's the reason why: lack of creative marketing.

POSTED IN: Cartoons from Five Years Ago (38)

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May 21, 2008

Flashback Five Wednesday

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While I'm away from the blog this week, I'm posting some cartoons I drew exactly five years ago, when the Iraq war was in its infancy, so you can see how the world has changed or not changed in the meantime. I thought the exercise in armchair quarterbacking might be informative.

Remember SARS? Here's one that will really date you: Remember SWINE FLU?

POSTED IN: Cartoons from Five Years Ago (38)

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May 20, 2008

Flashback Five Tuesday

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While I'm away from the blog this week, I'm posting some cartoons I drew exactly five years ago, when the Iraq war was in its infancy, so you can see how the world has changed or not changed in the meantime. I thought the exercise in armchair quarterbacking might be informative.

Occasionally, when an editorial about the Middle East is called for, someone on the editorial board half-jokingly (and somewhat sadly) suggests that we simply pull out an old editorial, dust it off, and re-run it, because nothing ever seems to change. This cartoon could have run last week and still have been current.

POSTED IN: Cartoons from Five Years Ago (38)

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May 19, 2008

Flashback Five Monday 5/19

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While I'm away from the blog this week, I'm posting some cartoons I drew exactly five years ago, when the Iraq war was in its infancy, so you can see how the world has changed or not changed in the meantime. I thought the exercise in armchair quarterbacking might be informative.

Remember when we thought the war was being fought for oil, or at least that the Iraqis could repay the costs of the conflict and reconstruction with oil revenues? Now that we're pushing four-dollar-a-gallon gas, all I can say is, "Boy, were WE wrong!"

POSTED IN: Cartoons from Five Years Ago (38)

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May 15, 2008

Bush and the environment

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Maybe the polar bear will survive until the next administration takes over.

POSTED IN: President Bush (36), The Environment (9)

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May 14, 2008

Barack Obama comes to South Florida

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There's no question that the almost-presumptive Democratic nominee has a lot of work to do in in the three South Florida counties to achieve a comfort level with the voters here. Without Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade, there's no chance he can win the state in November.

I intentionally left this drawing in black and white, the way it appears in the paper, because I thought it more effective than color. Sometimes, as Mies van der Rohe liked to say, "Less is more."

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May 13, 2008

Gas Prices

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This is a subject which, as I have mentioned before, is dear to my heart. I read a story recently where the resale value of these behemoths is dropping like a stone. It reminds me of people who bought up condos to flip during the housing bubble and got left holding the bag.

Back in the good old profligate days, I remember seeing people leave their giant SUV engines running in the parking lot while they went shopping, so that the AC would keep the car cool until they got back.


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May 12, 2008

New slideshow video-"Contradictoons"

"That's not funny at all."

I get that a lot, usually from people who confuse "cartoon" with "comic." Editorial cartoons are commentary, and while humor is a tool editorial cartoonists frequently use, there are times when humor is not appropriate. Sometimes the serious cartoon has the greater impact.

Don't expect to get a belly laugh out of this slideshow. I put it together in hopes it might cause people to reflect a little. It has an accompanying soundtrack. I hope you enjoy it.

POSTED IN: None

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McCain, Obama, and the general election

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I guess we're in for a long campaign. You'd think McCain would let independently funded groups do his Swiftboating for him so he can hang onto his fig leaf, but he just can't seem to wait. Let's play on the Muslim rumor to get that Straight Talk General Election Express rolling. If he's a Muslim, he MUST be a closet terrorist, right? After all, he's Hamas' poster boy.

I would imagine there are more than a few Klan members who plan to vote for McCain. That doesn't mean I'm going to be drawing him wearing a hood and burning crosses any time soon.

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May 10, 2008

Reject corner...split decision!!!

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So I said to myself, "Now that the caption contest is over, it's time to get another cartoon axed so I can post it in the Reject Corner." With that goal in mind, I deliberately set out to draw a toon that would fail what the front-office cheeses like to call the "Breakfast Test," meaning a piece so tasteless that it might cause some readers to gag over their Cap'n Crunch.

What you see here are the fruits of that effort. I first showed the sketch to my opinion page editor, Tony Fins. To my horror, he said, "That's fine. Go with it." I wondered if Tony still carried bruises from previous Reject Corner reader comments.

"I was kinda hoping you'd reject it," I said, glumly. "I need a reject for the blog."

"Why don't you kick it upstairs to Earl (that being Earl Maucker, il capo de tutti capi)?" Tony said. "Maybe he'll reject it."

Earl did not disappoint. Sure enough, he had problems with the cartoon. The word "sexist" was thrown on the table. He suggested less offensive visual alternatives, which I declined as not being germane. Earl also indicated that it was about time he made an appearance on my blog, in a "please don't throw me in that briar patch," kind of way. I owed him one, so I was happy to comply.

Which of my bosses do you agree with? Let me know.

POSTED IN: Cartoon Rejects (15)

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May 9, 2008

Cutting the budget

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Thanks to budget cuts and higher food costs, the schools are having to choose between cutting back on the quality of the lunches they serve and raising prices, which will make them harder for low-income folks to afford. Is it just an economic issue, or is it a failure to assign the correct priorities? Somehow the legislature managed to keep funds in the budget for consolation payments to companies that lost out in bidding for state contracts.

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May 8, 2008

Myanmar

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In all the excitement with the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, gas prices, and the economy going to hell in a handbasket, it's easy to forget there are other things going on in the world that make our issues pale by comparison. It's also easy to forget that there is somebody still occupying the White House, trying to be relevant.

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May 7, 2008

The Clinton and Obama Campaigns

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After the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, we all watch in fascination, some of us in horror, as Hillary Clinton refuses to read the writing on the wall. Depending on your point of view, she is either to be admired for her toughness and resilience, or vilified for her selfishness and egotism.

I particularly enjoy this colorful image, which I snagged from the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza's blog, The Fix: "Nor are there many among unaffiliated Democratic consultants who believe she is ready to bail out. 'She is the Japanese soldier in the Pacific island that hasn't been told the war is over,' said Democratic pollster John Anzalone. 'Occasionally she picks off a few islanders and considers it a victory. Well, yesterday she found out the war was over.'"

I only disagree with the last sentence.

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May 6, 2008

Florida Legislature blues

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At a time when we're about to pay four dollars per gallon at the pump, you would think our legislature would do all it could to dedicate a funding source for the region's mass transit system, which is experiencing more ridership than ever before.

You would be wrong, of course. Thanks to petty politics in Tallahassee, something to do with revenge on the part of one Orlando-area pol for not getting something for his own commuter rail system, Tri-Rail was denied the two-dollar surcharge on rental cars that would have kept the trains rolling without cutbacks. Bottom line? Enjoy your drive.

Oh, they did manage to designate an Official State Anthem for us. The Official State Pie was already taken (a good thing, too--during the year of the State Pie, they spent days debating the merits of key lime versus pecan. It was one of those North/South things. I don't remember which won).

POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)

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May 5, 2008

We have a Caption Contest Winner!

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WE HAVE A WINNER!

A couple of weeks ago, I inaugurated the first Official Lowe-Down Cartoon Caption Contest, and the results were phenomenal. Over 150 would-be cartoonists sent in their captions to complete my drawing. After the caption entry period ended, Editorial Page Editor Tony Fins and I sifted through the submissions, some of them inspired, some incomprehensible, some utterly tasteless. We narrowed the field to three finalists, which were submitted to a week-long Vote of the People.

The people responded in force from locales all over America, as well as Jamaica, Brazil, and the United Kingdom, registering a whopping 488 votes by the end of the contest period. The runaway favorite, with 61.7% of the vote, was the caption submitted by Gary Pedullo of Deerfield Beach, FL. I have lettered Gary's winning caption into the cartoon posted above. Gary also wins an Official Lowe-Down blog t-shirt.

Be sure to keep checking the blog for future contests, daily cartoons, audio/visuals, animations, and, of course, commentary.

POSTED IN: Cartoon caption contest (10)

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The Economy and Global Warming

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It seems like every day we pick up the paper, there are so many insoluble problems and other horrors that we can't even begin to fix them. So I thought, "Why not combine a few?"

It's a little like getting one of those consolidation loans so that you can handle all your debts with one easy payment. One-stop cartoon shopping.

POSTED IN: None

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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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