Thursday, September 29, 2005

Cartoon #214: “DeLay Indictment”

Title: TRMPAC Conspiracy; Text: (Tom Delay being smashed beneath a gavel labelled grand jury indictment under heading) Hammer Sandwich

It is often said that a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich — mostly by indictees. Tom DeLay (aka, The Hammer) blamed his indictment on political retribution, a rogue DA, and anything but his own criminal activities.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cartoon #213: “TRMPAC Conspiracy”

Title: TRMPAC Conspiracy; Text: (anthropomorphized caricatures of Ellis, Delay and Colyandro as vultures clutching American flag in thunderestorm - after Thomas Nast's vultures waiting for storm to pass.)

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle announced today that a grand jury has indicted House Majority Leader Tom Delay and two of his TRMPAC associates. The charge is conspiracy to violate the Texas election code prohibiting the donation of corporate money to political campaigns. The cartoon invokes one of the most famous political cartoons, Thomas Nast’s “A Group of Vultures Waiting for the Storm to ‘Blow Over.’—‘Let Us PREY’”. The comparison of Tom Delay to William Marcy “Boss” Tweed has been made in at least one editorial since the grand jury investigation began in 2002.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cartoon #212: “Moon Ship”

Title: Moon Ship; Text: (coin-operated rocket ship kiddy ride labelled 'NASA') The New Moon Ship

On Monday, September 19, 2005, NASA revealed its design plans for the new generation of manned spacecraft that will take astronauts to the Moon and Mars, and the pay-as-you-go philosophy behind it.

Cartoon #211: “Hurricane Rita”

Title: Hurricane Rita; Text: (Rick Perry standing calmly as people run in a panic around him) Rick Perry inspires calm before storm.

Keep in mind that thinking Texans have suffered far more years of failed leadership under George W. Bush and his handpicked successor, Rick Perry, than the rest of the country.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Cartoon #210: “Simon Wiesenthal”

Title: Simon Wiesenthal; Text: (typography illustrated as barbed wire) Nazi Hunt, (normal type) This matter must remain open, because the murderers of tomorrow might be alive today. -Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005

Famed Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal, a personal hero of mine, died at the age of 96 on Tuesday, September 19, 2005. He is most famous for helping bring Adolf Eichmann to justice. Wiesenthal helped bring more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to court, including Karl Silberbauer, the Nazi official who arrested Anne Frank, Franz Stangl, the former commandant of the Nazi concentration camp at Treblinka, and Josef Schwammberger, former commander of the Przemysl ghetto.

Since 1977, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Holocaust memorial agency, has promoted awareness of antisemitism, monitored neo-Nazi groups, operated Museums of Tolerance in Los Angeles and Jerusalem and helped bring surviving Nazi war criminals to justice.

May his ever necessary work go on. “For in the final analysis,” concluded Simon Wiesenthal, “the future will be determined not by how many Nazis there will be — or fascists or extreme nationalists or white supremacists — but how many anti-Nazis, people of goodwill, there will be to confront them.”

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Cartoon #209: “Bush Library”

Title: Bush Library; Text: (view of New Orleans Superdome with caption) Proposed Site for the Bush Library

Bids to host the George W. Bush Presidential Library, due Thursday, September 15, 2005, include proposals from The University of Texas, Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, The University of Dallas, Midland College, and the City of Arlington, Texas. No bid is pending, however, from the New Orleans Superdome, where survivors of hurricane Katrina waited in vain for help from Bush in the week following the destruction of their city.

No new building would need to be built. The existing building would need no restoration, renovation or cleanup. The Superdome’s leaking roof would symbolize the the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity to the Press. The stench and lack of airconditioning would represent Bush’s contempt for the environment and disregard for Global Warming. The former sports stadium is already appropriately decorated with biohazardous polution. The blood of the victims of rape and murder, including that of women and children who wanted nothing more than food, water and urgent rescue by their own government would serve as a dual symbol, representing the suffering of Iraqi women and children.

The money that would have been spent building a pretentious monument glorifying the Criminal of Crawford could instead go toward rebuilding the millions of human lives that Bush helped destroy. As a symbol of the mass death and suffering of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, as a symbol of the total destruction of a major American city, as a symbol of the oxymoronic “compassionate conservative” misnomer resulting from the dangerously misguided foreign and domestic policies of the Bush Administration, The New Orleans Superdome is the perfect site. Therefore, I hereby submit this cartoon as my formal proposal to the Bush Library selection committee.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Cartoon #208: “Hurricane Names”

Title: Hurricane Names; Text: (two panels, first headed 'Hurricane Season 2004, second headed 'Hurricane Season 2005 -- woman saying) Panel 1: 'Why are hurricanes given only Anglo names? Why no African-American names?' Panel 2: 'Oh.')

A couple of hurricane seasons ago, the congressional newspaper the Hill reported that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, thought hurricane names were too "lily white," and wanted to see more names reflecting African-Americans and other ethnic groups.

“All racial groups should be represented,” the Hill quoted Lee saying. Ms. Lee said she hoped national weather officials “would try to be inclusive of African-American names.” The Hill cited some popular names that could be used, including Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn.

The tradition of naming hurricanes solely after women ended in 1978 when men’s and women’s names were included in the Eastern North Pacific storm lists. In 1979, lists for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico followed suit.

You don’t hear this debate after Katrina. First of all, it was women who complained about the lack of men’s names in the 1970s. Women did not want the change because men were being discriminated against by the omission of their names. They wanted to mitigate the bad image women got from identifying hurricanes as feminine.

For the past two storm seasons, Sheila Jackson Lee apparently did not get it. Perhaps she does now. Katrina has spurred a different racial debate.

News footage following Katrina showed mostly African-Americans struggling to survive the destruction of New Orleans. News photos were captioned differently for whites and blacks. Captions on otherwise neutral photographs informed readers that whites were carrying supplies through the flooded streets, but black survivors were “looting.”

Political officials chose to believe that poor survivors “chose to stay,” rather than “couldn’t get out.” That belief was not only racist and elitist, it avoided the debate over preparedness.

No doubt hurricane names could be more ethnically representative. But why in the world would any ethnic group demand representation? After Katrina, those demands were silenced.

Cartoon #207: “Homeland Security 2005”

Title: Homeland Security 2005; Text: None (Official Seal for the Department of Homeland Security floating in water)

The question arose immediately after Hurricane Katrina. What if the flooding in New Orleans had been caused by terrorists instead of a hurricane? The destruction of New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities exposed the Department of Homeland Security as the snake oil critics said it was.

President Bush got most of his votes in the 2004 election from people who felt safer sticking with the 9/11 Commander-in-Chief. They were fooled.

Hopefully those voters will learn from the thousands of deaths caused by the inaction of DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and support the removal of Bush from his figurehead role as President of the United States. Bush created DHS in 2002 and placed FEMA under its control. The first Chief of DHS, Bush crony Joe Albaugh, resigned after Bush was reelected and recommended an old buddy as his replacement. Current DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff was given the job despite having no experience in emergency management.

As usual, calls for a Congressional investigation of government failure in response to Katrina are being countered by calls for “an independent national commission” to examine the relief effort. Informed citizens should know by now that such a blue-ribbon commission is code for a criminal coverup. If a Katrina “Warren Commission” takes over, watch the following charges diminish or disappear in its “investigation”:

According to a New York Times report by Scott Shane, Sept. 5, 2005, FEMA officials, workers and/or agents allegedly

  • turned away three trailer trucks loaded with water sent by Wal-Mart.

  • prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

  • cut the emergency communication lines for Jefferson Parish on Saturday, Sept. 3, causing the sheriff to restore it and post armed guards to protect it from FEMA.

  • interfered inexplicably with the delivery of aid from other states, including New Mexico and Illinois.

  • failed to act to allow the use of U.S. Forest Service water tanker aircraft to fight fires on the New Orleans riverfront.

  • blamed its gross inaction on the victims, alleging a lack of preparedness by the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cartoon #206: “The Powerful Katrina”

Title: The Powerful Katrina; Text: (heading:) 'The Powerful Katrina' (folks on rooftops surrounded by flood waters; signs sticking out of water labeled:) 'Gulfport,' 'Mobile,' 'Biloxi,' 'Slidell,' 'New Orleans,' and 'Toonerville' ('Toonerville Folks' characters 'The Powerful Katrinka' and 'The Skipper.' The Skipper is shown being lifted to safety by Katrinka.)

Hurricane Katrina made landfall Monday morning, August 29, 2005, and left unspeakable devastation in the central Gulf Coast of the U.S. In the days following the storm, things went from horrible to worse. The New Orleans levee system gave way to the flooded Lake Pontchartrain, covering most of the city. Our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of victims. The only good to come out of this event is the superhuman efforts of good-hearted folks to aid the survivors.

In that spirit, my metaphore is an historical cartoon character who exemplified both a good heart and superhuman feats. Her name, ironically, is “The Powerful Katrinka,” from Fontaine Fox’s 1930s comic “Toonerville Folks.” According to cartoon historian Herb Galewitz, in his book “Fontaine Fox’s Toonerville Folks” (Weathervaine Books, NY: 1972), Katrinka was a combination of an African-American woman employed as a cook for Fox’s father, and Ole Olson, a footall character in a George Fitch novel. Katrinka is shown in this cartoon rescuing Fox’s main character, “The Skipper.”