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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September 30, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Polanski: Roman no more

genius.gifWhy bother with this guy?

Let's face it: He's in his seventies. That thing he did with the 13-year-old girl was thirty years ago or more, and he hasn't broken the law since. He made a cash settlement with her, and she doesn't want to pursue charges any more. Plus, look at all the magnificent films he's made. One of the greatest cinematic minds of our time.

As for the first part of that argument, which is being peddled by the French, the Poles, and the Hollywood glitterati among others: It's not up to the girl. Society has an interest in the pursuit of justice. The crime to which Polanski confessed was against all of us.

To extend this argument logically, John Demjanjuk was shabbily treated. After all, his alleged crimes against humanity as a Nazi prison camp guard occurred over sixty years ago. He lived a nondescript, law-abiding life ever since as an autoworker in Cleveland. He was deported once to Israel for trial, found guilty, had the verdict overturned, and returned to the U.S. He's now in Germany awaiting another trial at the age of 89. I wonder how the French, the Poles, and Hollywood would have felt if he'd been discovered and the Justice Department had decided to just let bygones be bygones.

No, he was deported to face justice, which is as it should be. The same reasoning applies to Roman Polanski. If there are those who think the brilliance of his movies might exonerate him if he is found guilty at trial, then film critics can be brought in to testify as expert witnesses.

That would cover the second part of the argument. And who knows...he might get a jury full of film buffs.

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September 29, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Corruption...we're shocked, shocked!

raking.gifIn Latin America, corruption is practically an art form.

Within certain limits of taste, it is not only tolerated, but an essential ingredient in making sure the wheels of bureaucracy run smoothly. Who likes standing in line for hours to get a driver's license when you can "know somebody" and get the whole thing taken care of without even showing up for a test?

In Mexico, they even have a word for it: la mordida--the bite.

My older Oklahoma friends lamented the repeal of the Volstead Act (prohibition), which didn't happen there until 1957.

Back in the good old days, they told me, your bootlegger (who always made sure the local sheriff got his taste), delivered your hooch right to your back door wrapped in corn husks, just like a milkman. After the repeal, a body had to galumph all the way down to the likker store to collect his medicine.

Anyway, I think that our friends to the south would marvel not that our public officials are on the take, but that they have control over such vast resources and are prostituting the public trust for such a relatively paltry sum.

Frankly, it's an embarrassment. I expect my elected officials to sell out for at least six figures. This is the big time, not some dusty pueblo.

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Chan Lowe cartoon: Sarah Palin, literary lioness

palinbook.gifSomehow the words "book" and "Sarah Palin" don't fit comfortably in the same sentence.

Oh, well...if George Bush Sr.'s dog could pen a best-selling memoir about his years in the White House, I suppose anyone can.

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September 28, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Crazy Mahmoud

mahmoud.gifSo much for engagement.

Engagement only works when the guy you're trying to engage is rational. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? Both President Kennedy and Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev were veterans of WWII. Kennedy knew that his adversary had experienced what all-out war can do to a nation--in the USSR's case, wipe out nine million of its citizens.

He knew that behind all the saber-rattling, Khrushchev was worth engaging, because he understood the argument that mutual annihilation benefited no one.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not act like someone who is aware of the possible consequences of his actions. Either that, or he's performing one of the most daring high-wire acts of all time.

The Israelis are realists. After all, it's their country these missiles crazy Mahmoud is waving around are aimed at. They're not going to sit around forever while President Obama conducts a debating society, or relies on leaky "sanctions" that the Chinese have a vested, petroleum-based interest in sabotaging.

Proof once again that it's a whole lot easier to conduct a Foreign Policy of Change We Can Believe In from the campaign lectern than from the Oval Office.

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September 25, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: The VA drops the ball

redtape.gifOur politicians are fond of sanctimoniously invoking the bravery and heroism of our troops in the field.

Being pols, they hope some of the sheen from the achievements of others will rub off on them.

Some of the same people who are quick to accuse others of "abandoning our troops" when war budgets are questioned have often been oddly silent regarding expending funds to fulfill our obligations to our warriors.

Once they come home from battle wounded, damaged, and/or with a duffel bag full of promises made to them when they signed up, their usefulness to our lawmakers as props seems to diminish.

The string of revelations about our mistreatment of vets, including the Walter Reed scandal and untold other embarrassments, shame this country. Now we find that the V.A., thanks to bureaucratic overload, is unable to process payments in a timely manner to our veterans-turned-students. They are having to beg and rely on the generosity of others to extend credit to them while they await the arrival of what is rightfully theirs. More money could solve this.

The truly infuriating part of this is that the cost of a couple of F-22 Raptors we don't need would probably cover the shortfall with ease.


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On being an American

JJ2.gifA close friend of mine just sent me this photo of his daughter-in-law, who celebrated becoming an American citizen the other day.

Looking at the sheer exuberance in this young woman’s face as she proudly waves her new flag, I was struck that even though we call each other names, accuse one another of being unpatriotic, and attack our leaders on a regular basis (all quintessentially American activities, by the way), there are still people who admire what we are so much that they passionately want to be one of us.

I once helped a Nicaraguan friend, who was already in her seventies, study for her citizenship exam.

While she was allowed to take it in Spanish, she was expected to recall facts about this nation so esoteric that I doubt a high-school civics teacher could have received a perfect score. It took her a few tries, but she persevered. She finally succeeded.

We who are lucky enough to have been born within the geographical borders of this country can’t fully appreciate the gift bestowed upon us through no act of our own. We tend to take it for granted, since we’ve never been deprived of it.

Only someone who has not been an American for much of his or her life can truly grasp the promise of hope, potential, and above all the ingrained reverence for the sanctity of individual rights that American citizenship offers.

A couple of days ago, this young lady was a Filipina. Then, she raised her hand and took an oath of citizenship. Now, she is one of us. No hyphens, just an American--free to complain, along with the rest of us, about everything she thinks is wrong with this country.

When you put it that way, who wouldn’t want to be an American?


POSTED IN: General Topics (188)

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September 24, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Broward corruption sweep

newspapers.gifNaturally, the idea for this cartoon appealed to the career newspaperman in me.

It's not the stretch that you would think, either. How would the Feds have even known to stage multiple sting operations of local government figures if newspapers hadn't been watchdogging and digging up dirt about corruption, year after year?

The alleged criminals certainly weren't going to advertise it themselves, and everybody in our business knows that TV "news" operations wouldn't know what to report about if they didn't have a paper to read every morning (That's unfair. They learn about those bloody car accidents, fires and crimes from police and emergency scanners).

Anyway, nothing's more entertaining than a good perp walk. In school board member Beverly Gallagher's case, it was a perp "sprint," an act beautifully captured on our front page by photographer Mike Stocker in an image that will be forever seared into Broward political history.

A great day for the Feds, for better government, for the media, and even for voters, if they would just get engaged and stop automatically voting for the person they'd heard of.

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September 23, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: The Graveyard of Empires

serpent.gifAmericans have never been much for learning the lessons of history.

Part of it is that America is so different from other nations, founded on principle rather than ethnicity or geography.

A corollary to this is the myth of American exceptionalism, which, loosely translated, means: "Others failed in the past because they did it wrong. When we do things our way, we succeed. Plus, we've got God on our side."

When it comes to Afghanistan, a backwater that has been notoriously hostile to outsiders, "The Graveyard of Empires," we may learn that even our way won't win us the highway.

Take the Brits, for example. If you have any FAQ's about how to run an empire, they're the go-to folks. Anybody who can subjugate the entire Indian subcontinent--several hundred million people--for over a hundred years using nothing more than a few thousand civil servants and soldiers must know what they're doing.

Well, Afghanistan's inhospitable inhabitants and topography broke them, too. Even the Russian Bear lumbered off with a bruised backside.

Do we honestly think that we can cram our Age of Enlightenment ideals down the locals' throats and leave them with a functioning agrarian democracy in the Jeffersonian mold (well, growing opium poppies is a form of agriculture) through military might, just because we happen to be more charming than our predecessors?

It doesn't matter who's sitting in the Oval Office hot seat, be they Democrat or Republican. When it comes to Afghanistan, they're earning every penny of their salary.

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September 22, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Barack Obama, head shill

heir.gifThe White House handlers obviously believe that their strongest suit is the Pitchman-In-Chief, and they're playing their hand for all it's worth.

The Charismatic One, in an unprecedented tour de force, appeared on five morning yak shows on Sunday.

Then came the David Letterman appearance, another first for a sitting president.

While poll numbers show that the President himself remains personally popular, his programs continue to be decidedly less so, and there is a clear danger here that repeatedly putting him out there as the head shill is going to wear thin over time.

If there's one thing Americans hate, it's being exposed to the same old shtick over and over. This is why ads lose their effectiveness with overexposure.

For example, I'm sick of seeing that couple holding hands in those side-by-side bathtubs (obviously, I watch a lot of news programs), and wondering how on earth they managed to rig the plumbing for them when they're perched on some Grand Canyon pinnacle five thousand feet in the air, or why anybody would want to take a bath in separate tubs way up there in the first place.

I figure if they're going to insult my intelligence like that, then I'm not going to spend my hard-earned medical insurance dollars on their lousy pills.

See? This is the risk the White House runs.

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September 21, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: An alternative energy source for FPL

turnstile.gifSo there you are, some paper-pushing dweebazoid sitting in your dank little office at the PSC in Tallahassee, playing tiddlywinks with your stapler.

All you can think about is that you've got just a couple of years left before you can retire on your miserable state pension and spend some quality time with your stamp collection before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

You notice on your agenda that there’s an appointment today with somebody from FPL.

In walks this tanned, slick Brioni-suit-wearing specimen who flops down in your spare chair as if he owned the place.

“I’ve been looking at these figures,” you say to him, shuffling spreadsheets and trying to look official. “Your numbers just don’t add up.”

Your visitor grins expansively. He could care less. “You know, Furbish,” he whispers. “I like your chutzpah. If you’d ever like to work someplace where they know how to show their appreciation for your kind of institutional knowledge, just lemme know.”

He slides a business card across the desk and leaves. You sit there for the rest of the day, staring at the card. And the next day, and the one after. You start tapping your fingers, thinking about that Mediterranean cruise you and the wife dreamed about when you were young, and the future was bursting with possibilities…

POSTED IN: Local South Florida Issues (187)

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September 18, 2009

ACORN unmasked

acorn.gifFor sheer entertainment value, the idea of a couple of young people posing as a hooker and her pimp in order to run a sting on a major community organizing operation can't be beat.

The U.S. House of Representatives, in distancing itself from this little bit of theater, immediately voted to yank ACORN's federal support dollars. One has to ask why our tax money was being spent on this kind of thing in the first place. Rather, it sounds like the perfect opportunity for corporations to polish their public images by contributing to something civic-minded that would help turn out the vote. Oops...they'd be Democratic votes. Never mind.

Anyway, we all know that there's a secondary reason the Right is foaming at the mouth over ACORN. The tax issue is one thing, although I never hear them grousing about U.S. companies that headquarter themselves abroad in order to avoid paying federal taxes.

No, it's really because in the woolly public mind, ACORN is associated with Barack Obama, as if it were some wholly-owned subsidiary of the Obama campaign.

Well, that's how politics is played, although rarely in such a coherent, focused way.

It's a slippery slope, and the Progressives aren't exactly fools. I'm looking forward to some counterscams. It's all mother's milk to a cartoonist.

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September 17, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: What happened to presidential privacy?

viral.gifThe theme of the week appears to be presidential privacy, or the lack of it.

First comes some obscure lower-echelon speechwriter in the Bush administration who is earning his thirty pieces of silver by publishing a tell-all book.

In it, he quotes (or misquotes) his former employer uttering embarrassing comments that he thought were being made in confidence.

Remember those executive privilege arguments, cited by all administrations, about how a president must be able to depend on the confidentiality of his conversations if he is going to get honest advice? Now the wound comes from an inner, trusted member of the tribe. How crass.

Second, we have Barack Obama being twitted, or tweeted, or whatever, about by news personnel for an offhand remark he made--and which he thought was off the record--that Kanye West was "a jackass." Nobody seems to disagree with his assessment, but the controversy has something to do the fact that he said it.

In this high-tech world, with surreptitious cell phone video cameras, social media, instant Internet connectivity, and the promise of big payoffs for loose lips, no leader can be sure that everything he says or does--no matter how trivial or banal--won't be public knowledge within seconds.

I guess all we can do is be grateful that this stuff wasn't available during the Clinton years. The cocktail dress was bad enough.


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September 16, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Windstorm rate hike roulette

boardroom.gifWe've had a few pretty good years lately, knock on wood.

It would be understandable were the insurance companies to stick us with higher rates if we'd been battered repeatedly by hurricanes like we were back in 2005, but they've already hiked them several times since then even though the weather has been favorable.

They come at us now with some kind of gobbledygook about how the cost of reinsurance is up, thanks to worldwide catastrophes. They always have a reason.

Didn't they create those independent Florida subsidiaries (e.g. Allstate Floridian) so that they could soak us for big premiums, yet insulate the national company from huge losses in case the worst happened?

Why doesn't that "insulation" work both ways? Why should our premiums be affected by earthquakes in Japan, or a tsunami in Malaysia, if they're trying to treat the entire Florida market like some kind of isolated hothouse rose?

As usual, they always have the last word: If you don't like it, don't live here.


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September 15, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: We're mad as hell...

rage.gifNobody has a corner on anger. We’re all angry.

We’re angry that a lifetime of hard work leaves only the promise of more hard work (if we can hang onto it) until we drop, rather than the retirement our parents deserved and got.

We’re angry about the moral degradation of society. We’re angry about huge Wall Street bonuses for people who caused us to lose our homes, about loud hip-hop music and toenail fungus. A million affronts--some petty, some gross. All irritating.

Some say our anger stems from fear. Fear that “they” have taken away our country, and that we’ll lose what’s left of it if we don’t mobilize to snatch it back.

If they have, where have they taken it? If our guns can stop their act of larceny, what direction do we point them in? Who are “they?” If “they” are really Big Government, how do we contain it? Do we go down to the federal courthouse and shoot out the windows?

You know what we need? We need scapegoats. What’s more American than finding a scapegoat? That’s it—let’s focus on people who don’t talk like us, look like us, or think like us. Let’s start with that guy who wasn’t even born here, yet acts like he’s running the place.

Whew… That makes us feel better already.


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September 14, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Dial 511 for frustration

511.gifOn occasion, my editors have seen fit to send me to Tallahassee to cover the sillier side of our legislature in graphic montage.

There is no end of inspiration up there. I remember a special session that then-Gov. Bob Martinez called twenty years ago to reform Florida's abortion laws.

Impassioned partisans arrived from all over the country to stage demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in the streets of our sleepy capital city. The pro-life crowd, in particular, came equipped with visual aids that I won't even go into.

Anyway, I discovered that one way to get a handle on the crazy-quilt character of our state is to sit in the gallery of the House of Representatives. It's a little like witnessing a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.

Over in one corner, the Miami-Dade delegation is deliberating in Spanish. In another, the Broward and Palm Beach reps are still rehashing some football game from long ago between their old high schools back in Brooklyn. One can hear the broad diphthongs of the Midwest from the Orlando/Tampa/Sarasota corridor, and cutting through it all is the twang of good ol' boys from the Panhandle across to Jacksonville, thick and tough as the crust on a chicken-fried steak.

Bearing all this in mind, it's no wonder that a statewide voice-activated highway information system would be stymied trying to understand instructions from an average Floridian. Mainly because there is no such thing as an average Floridian. We're really a loose collection of accents and idioms.

That is, when we're speaking to each other.

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September 11, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: The Party of No

illuminated.gifThings are starting to jell in Congress.

The final contours of health care reform are yet to be defined, but the fractious Democrats, possibly prodded by the President's speech, are beginning to see the advantages of passing some kind of bill, even if its contents don't completely mesh with their individual dreams.

Meanwhile, there are misgivings in Republican ranks. So far, just saying No has pleased the base, but while the base is well-organized, it's shrinking compared to the number of moderates who are being alienated by their behavior. The "You lie" comment didn't help make them look reasonable.

As I've said before, once a program is in place, people start to think of it as their birthright. Even if all the Democrats pass is a skeleton, it'll be enough to start hanging the Christmas ornaments on down the line. As Americans begin to enjoy (maybe) health care that for many was previously beyond their reach, and discover in the process that we haven't all started speaking Russian, they'll start looking at the GOP as the party that wanted to deny them the goodies.

Look at Social Security--which is certainly socialism--or Medicare, which is just what Obama wants for everybody, except limited to old people. Nobody dares even question those programs now.

The train's pulling out the station, and the Republicans are in danger of being left on the platform, looking in the wrong direction.

Can you hear that lonesome whistle blowin'?

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September 10, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: The last homeowner in America

trailer.gif
When the value of your home plunges into the tank, you figure (as would any reasonable person) that at least there's a silver lining: your property taxes will go down. After all, it's only fair, isn't it?

That's in a perfect world, where money grows on trees, milk and honey flow in the streets, roads, law enforcement, parks and libraries magically maintain themselves, and FPL says, "Don't worry about that streetlight bill--we know times are tough, so we'll just let'em burn out of the kindness of our hearts."


POSTED IN: Economy (197)

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September 9, 2009

The great state of FPL

welcome.gif Do you feel that your social life isn't quite what it ought to be? Do you work the online dating sites in vain, waiting for someone to click on that glam shot you had made at the mall?

If so, I suggest you apply for a job with Florida's Public Service Commission--the outfit that ostensibly regulates utilities in our name. You'll never be lonely again.

I understand they're hiring--the governmental affairs director and a chief adviser just stepped down. Two other advisers are on administrative leave.

You'll be invited to parties galore. Your BlackBerry will buzz so often with calls from FPL execs that you'll have to start blocking the ones who don't provide caviar at their picnics.

In fact, the sky's the limit. Drop a hint, and your wish is their command. It'll be up to you to draw your own line on ethics.

As they say down at the nuclear plant, "Par-TEE!"

POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258)

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September 8, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Our president, right or wrong

unamerican.gifSome of the recent comments about Barack Obama by readers of this blog have bordered on the kind of talk that gets one a knock on the door from the Secret Service. One of my commenters even posted on our weather blog , fantasizing about the president’s helicopter getting caught in a hurricane.

I’ll paraphrase my response to someone who sneeringly referred to Obama as “your” president (meaning mine): Even though it was unseemly that the person who officially certified the Florida vote count in 2000 also happened to be chairwoman of the Bush Florida campaign, we accepted George W. Bush as president because the Supreme Court ultimately decided in his favor. Some had to swallow pretty hard, but it’s the law, and we are a nation of laws.

I was angry at Bush when we found out there were no WMDs in Iraq. I was ashamed of him in the aftermath of Katrina. I was disgusted by him when the news about the torture of prisoners came out. But I never once thought he wasn’t my president. We can disagree with him, we can try to influence his behavior through public involvement, but in the end, he’s the only leader we’ve got until his term is up. That’s why we have terms.

In the meantime, those who say of Obama that “he isn’t my president” for whatever reasons should buck up and face reality. He was elected fair and square by the majority. In this country, the majority rules.

As we approach the eighth anniversary of 9/11, it is instructive to remember that George W. Bush’s approval rating soared to ninety per cent afterward, which means even those who felt he stole the election rallied around him as our head of state—the embodiment, for better or worse, of the American people. They may not have liked him, but they accepted him.

I doubt the same would happen if, God forbid, another such tragedy befell us. Those who feel Barack Obama is not their president would be too busy blaming him for doing a lousy job protecting us as chief executive.


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September 4, 2009

Chan Lowe cartoon: Obama "poisons" young minds

advice.gif
It's hard for reasonable people to even wrap their minds around the ugliness of thought that would cause a parent to prevent his child from being exposed to the words of the President of the United States.

One should at least have enough respect for the office to listen to its occupant before disagreeing.

It would be an excellent civics lesson, it seems to me, to talk to one's child after hearing the president speak and explain to him that it is all right not to agree with everything--or anything--he says. But all this does is teach children to hate, rather than listen to, those with whom we disagree. A variation, I suppose, on the Bush "we don't talk to our enemies" doctrine.

The other stuff, that he's trying to poison young minds with his socialistic, communistic dogma--well, if you really believe what Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck et al feed you, then I'm not going to waste further keystrokes trying to talk you out of it.

Oh, and if you have a problem with my cartoon or anything I've said, don't bother to post your comment, because if you do, I will remove it in order not to expose my other readers to your thoughts. By not being in lockstep with mine, they are ipso facto unworthy for this blog.

I'm kidding. Go ahead and rant; just keep it clean.

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September 3, 2009

The health care long knives are out

forged.gif
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for meaningful health care reform to pass through this congress.

There are so many moving parts in this game of three-dimensional chess, so many special interests, so much money to be made and lost, that only someone with the legislative skills of a Ted Kennedy--or maybe a Tom Daschle--could have played it pitch-perfect.

Sadly, the American people seem to be forgotten in all the jockeying.

We have only our own ignorance to blame. If the majority of this country had any idea what the average citizen takes for granted in Europe, and for what cost, our members of congress would pass universal health care in a heartbeat, to the light of torches waving outside the U.S. Capitol windows.

But those of us who have some semblance of health care coverage desperately hang onto our miserable scraps, because it's all we know. Those who have nothing...hell, nobody listens to them, anyway.

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September 2, 2009

Drill, baby, drill!

oil.gif
I used to live in the “awl patch,” which is the folksy term used to describe that part of the country where petroleum and natural gas are extracted from deep inside the earth.

When the wind was right, there was a smell--not unlike what you smell when your neighbor’s roof is being tarred. That, along with the aroma coming from the feedlots, was what the locals called “the smell of money.”

The awl patch ain’t purty. I once passed through a town in the Texas Panhandle that was surrounded by oilfields. The unrelenting removal of liquid and gas from beneath the surface had caused the land above to buckle and collapse in unnatural ways. It was devoid of vegetation, and the whole tableau--dotted by pumps and power poles leaning at crazy angles--looked like a moonscape being preyed upon by a swarm of mechanical locusts.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing, because that land was probably not too appealing to begin with. But now we hear that a consortium of Texas wildcatters is trying to, um, influence the Florida Legislature to relax our offshore drilling ban with tales of vast riches to replenish the state’s depleted kitty.

Considering that preserving the natural beauty of the coastal environment is not exactly a priority for our out-of-state investors, maybe they shouldn't be trusted with the welfare of Florida’s beaches, which are pretty appealing.

But, shux--if we don't have enough gasoline to drive to 'em, what's the point in having 'em, anyway?

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September 1, 2009

Dick Cheney cries out in the wilderness

dcheney.gif
We were deep into 2002, probably five or six months after 9/11, before my editor would even entertain the idea of my drawing a cartoon that did not portray George W. Bush in anything but a favorable light.

"We're not ready for that yet," I remember him saying. He was probably right, as far as the sentiments of our readers were concerned.

The terror was still fresh, the country had rallied around its president, and unbeknownst to us, Dick Cheney was quietly machinating behind the scenes to exploit our national myopia and expand executive power to unheard-of levels.

It was a failure on the part of the media as much as anyone else, but consumers of news weren't ready yet for hard-nosed reporting, or commenting for that matter, about our leaders.

These are different times, and the man who used to condemn the Bush naysayers as unpatriotic didn't even wait for the inaugural platform to be disassembled before he began loudly trashing the new president. It's his right. Too bad he didn't see it that way when he was on the receiving end.

As for setting himself up as the world's authority on keeping us safe, let's remember that clever locution Cheney and his supporters like to use to justify their excesses: "The terrorists haven't hit us again since 9/11."

As I recall, Dick Cheney had been running this country for almost eight months when the terrorists did hit us on 9/11.

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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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